European Commission to boost Inland Waterway Transport

The Commission proposed a multi-annual Action Programme in order to foster transport by inland waterways in Europe.

Inland Waterway Transport is a significant option to improve Europe’s transport system which is suffering from congestion, delays and which harms the environment. Shifting more freight to water will help to deal with the constantly growing freight flows. Moreover, Inland Waterway Transport has great potential to be fully integrated into the door-to-door logistics chains. The Action Programme addresses five key components: services, fleet, staff, image and infrastructure.

Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of transport, Jacques Barrot, commented: “The NAIADES action plan is a contribution to Europe’s strategy for growth and employment. With a fleet of 11.000 vessels and a capacity equalling 10.000 trains or 440.000 trucks, inland waterways can make transport in Europe more efficient, reliable and environmental friendly. Europe cannot afford to leave that potential untapped”

The Action Programme focuses on five strategic areas:

  • creating favourable conditions for services and attracting new markets,
  • stimulating fleet modernisation and innovation,
  • attracting new workforce and increasing investment in human capital,
  • promoting Inland Waterway Transport as a successful business partner through a promotional network and
  • providing an adequate inland waterway infrastructure.

Finally, the Commission looks at the different options for modernising the regulatory environment to take up the challenges ahead.

The time frame for the implementation of the plan is the period 2006 – 2013. The programme is addressed to all levels responsible for Inland Waterway Transport, the industry itself, Member States and the European Union.

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