The Corridor Manager Dr Paweł Wojciechowski organised a workshop on sustainability of the inland shipping sector. Many stakeholders from the sector including ESC as representative of the users were invited for this workshop. Main topics of this meeting concerned the future of infrastructure and sustainability.
Periods of low water and the escalation of big ships in the fleets on the river Rhine increase unreliability of transport during these periods. At the same time the measures able to remove these problems are limited. Especially in the Middle Rhine, the natural conditions prevent large infrastructural changes taking place. ESC requested a regular maintenance, such as dragging, to be organised in an efficient way. Sometimes, however, these measures are unfairly postponed. According to ESC, those infrastructural investments should be executed which results in the biggest return on investment for shipping. ESC also asked the sector to be more agile in delivering services, even in bad weather situations.
For sustainability, the conclusion was made that especially in relation to NOX and particle emissions the inland shipping sector runs the risk of being overtaken by other modes. At the same time for smaller ship owners, investment in cleaner ships is not always easy to achieve. The European Barge Union (EBU) asked for the creation of an investment fund. This investment fund should be used to stimulate a quicker renewal of the fleet. ESC supported measures such as training for sustainability awareness comparable with sustainable driving training for the road haulage industry.
The conclusions of the workshop shall be further studied by the European Commission and be used as the basis for future policy measures.