European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc is attending the Inland waterways and ports dialogue in Strasbourg on November 15 to discuss a vision for inland waterways transport towards 2030.
“European inland waterways and ports have united people and facilitated growth for centuries,” Bulc said. “Therefore I welcome the sector’s vision towards even more sustainability and innovation. It is high time to boost the potential for a digitally connected, low-carbon, and highly skilled inland navigation and port sector, the Commissioner added, noting that a major step was achieved on November 14, with the adoption of the Directive on professional qualifications in inland waterways by the European Parliament.
“The Directive is now only pending the approval of the Council of the EU,” Bulc said.
Inland waterway transport, that is, the use of rivers, canals and lakes for connecting people and trade, provide a reliable and environmentally friendly transport option. The sector is small in relative terms, but with 140 billion tonne kilometres makes a considerable contribution to the EU’s transport system and the aim is to realise more multimodal integration.
According to the Commission, the EU seeks to make inland waterways a decarbonised, digital and innovative alternative, which provides efficient mobility throughout the EU. EU-supported projects in the sector do not only improve navigability, but also the ecological status and resilience against climate change. This can be achieved for example by promoting smart, clean and modular barges, and multimodal inland ports, as well as by deploying alternative fuels, the Commission said.