Enhancing Inland Navigation in Europe

Enhancing inland navigation is essential to cope with constantly growing transport volumes within the Baltic Sea Region and Europe in a sustainable way, reports the Port of Hamburg.

According to the port, inland navigation must be further developed as an integral part of a multimodal and sustainable transport system which takes advantage of digitalization and automation. This requires investments, innovations and intensive transnational co-operation, since 75 % of inland navigation operations are cross-border.

Inland navigation was one of the main topics of discussion for 130 participants, who gathered recently at the Nordic Embassies in Berlin for the Annual Joint Conference of the Interreg BSR Program Project EMMA and the Chamber Union Elbe-Oder.

In his keynote speech, Kurt Bodewig, European Coordinator for the Baltic-Adriatic Core Network Corridor TEN-T and Mandate Innovative Financing Instruments at DG MOVE, emphasized the importance of inland navigation for a sustainable transport system in the Baltic Sea Region and Europe.

Ingo Egloff, CEO at Port of Hamburg Marketing, a lead partner of Project EMMA, reminded that rail and road transport operate in their capacity limits. “Increasing the modal share of inland navigation reduces congestion on roads and rails: as an example, a convoy of four barges equals the capacity of 440 trucks on the road.

The participants concluded that the infrastructural investments and innovations, including deepening of the waterways, are crucial to enhance inland navigation. 40 000 kilometers of navigable waterways and over 200 inland ports connect major cities and towns across the European Union, and investments must be made both in waterways and in ports.