In an effort to accelerate the transition to clean energy, Germany’s Green Party minister Robert Habeck wants to use inland waterways as the primary way to transport large goods like wind turbine rotor blades. The funds for this waterway transport of oversize and heavy goods (GST) are now ready to be used.

The Federal Ministry of Transport has officially announced the corresponding directive in the Federal Gazette. The General Directorate for Waterways and Shipping (GDWS) in Bonn is the designated approval authority. Subsidies will be available until June 2024, with a total budget of 2 million euros, as reported earlier.

The objective is to instigate and support regular scheduled services on federal waterways. This move aims to leverage the eco-friendly potential of inland water transport within multimodal transport chains. Simultaneously, it seeks to streamline the planning of GST, facilitating producers and freight forwarders’ access to waterways and establishing an environmentally friendly alternative to road transportation.

Eligible for funding is every GST actually carried out by ship, which takes place at least partially on a federal waterway. The liner service must be offered in a regular rhythm with one to two trips per month, as stipulated.

The grants will be provided as non-repayable subsidies, covering up to 50% of the costs. A maximum amount of 200,000 euros is permissible over three fiscal years. The funding levels are determined based on the load capacity and range from 15.88 euros to 41.93 euros per kilometre of waterway over which GST is conducted.