Inland waterway transport. The Commission presents the NAIADES III action plan

On 24 June 2021, the European Commission tabled the new action plan (NAIADES III action plan) which will put in place the conditions for the inland waterway transport sector to better seize the opportunities linked to the shift towards a zero-emission and digital economy. The action plan is in line with the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, which set the goal of increasing transport by inland waterways and short sea shipping by 25% by 2030, and by 50% by 2050.

More particularly, about 41,000 kilometres of inland waterways flow through 25 of the Member States, transporting around 150 billion tkm of cargo every year, in particular in densely populated and congested areas. Furthermore, approximately 44,000 people work on inland vessels, of which 60% in goods transport and 40% in passenger transport.

Among the actions proposed, the revision of the Combined Transport Directive, along with support for investments towards transshipment capacity and inland multimodal terminals, will enable the greater integration of inland waterways into a modern, trans-European intermodal transport system. The Commission proposes also to establish a European framework for measuring and report emissions from logistics and transport.

Furthermore, the action plan includes measures to stimulate investments towards the development and deployment of innovative, zero-emission and zero-waste technologies for vessels and inland ports, as well as assisting the sector in the digital development.

The NAIADES III action plan will therefore ensure the sectors long-term sustainability and competitiveness, while opening up attractive new job opportunities for a skilled workforce.

Esmeralda Dedej