“Inland Waterway Transport – Key to the Green Deal”

On 20 November 2020, German Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Mr Andreas Scheuer in cooperation with the European Barge Union (EBU) invited the Commissioner for Transport, Ms Adina Vălean as well as stakeholders from many IWT-related countries to support the IWT industry, future modal shift and greening of the sector.

Commissioner Vălean pointed to the important potential of IWT to contribute to the climate objectives.  She promised to reinforce the EU support for the sector. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the EU has declared transport workers essential to our economies, requesting Member States that the workers are protected in doing their jobs, and are not required to observe quarantine when travelling for work. The Commission keeps recalling this, as without a smooth functioning of our supply chains, our economy will come to a halt.

EBU’s President Goris emphasized that by shifting higher volumes to inland waterway transport, it can substantially contribute to realize the European Green Deal.  The IWT is prepared to take over much higher volumes and to substantially increase its share in the coming years. To materialize the benefit of IWT in line with the EU and global objectives a strategy, program and concrete implementation instruments are needed.

The IWT sector calls for a dedicated programme as a joint effort by the European Commission, Member States, River Commissions and stakeholders as a follow up of the NAIADES PROGRAMME for 2021 – 2027. This should be backed by a concrete action program.

Results of the Ministerial Conference German EU Presidency: “Inland Waterway Transport – key to deliver the Green Deal”:

Following the event Minister Scheuer, addressed a presidential letter to his colleagues as well as the European Commission and Parliament to emphasize the importance of maritime and inland shipping and to join forces in taking the next steps towards zero-emission maritime shipping and inland waterway transport.

All parties agreed that Shipping is an indispensable component of the European economy. This is being confirmed not Least by the current COVID-19 pandemic, which is seeing maritime shipping and inland waterway transport.

The conference attendees were unanimously convinced that companies of the European shipping sector play a pioneering role in the field of sustainability. Waterways are already a safe, climate-friendly and environmentally sound transport mode.

Minister Scheuer calls upon his colleagues and the institutions to jointly work on the realization of the energy transition in shipping.

Theresia Hacksteiner
25 January 2021

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