The European Parliament adopted a resolution on 14 September 2021, which details the road to futureproof inland waterway transport in Europe.
o remind, inland waterway transport plays an important role in the transport of goods in Europe. More than 37,000 kilometres of waterways connect hundreds of cities and industrial regions. Thirteen Member States have an interconnected waterway network.
The potential for increasing the modal share of inland waterway transport is significant. However, this increase will depend upon the availability of cost-efficient technologies to accelerate the transformation into a zero-emission, digital, safe and competitive mode of transport.
In light of the situation, the resolution clearly stipulates the important role of Research, Development and Innovation regarding the transformation to climate-neutral solutions and the corresponding port infrastructure, green shipbuilding, as well as digital and autonomous waterborne transport.
The Inland Waterway Transport sector itself increased its efforts in Research, Development and Innovation, by joining forces with the other actors in the waterborne transport sector, by joining the Waterborne Technology Platform.
The resolution in addition highlights the need for sufficient funding for Research, Development and
Innovation, as well as the deployment of the technologies developed.
Following the above, Nik Delmeire, Board member of the Waterborne Technology Platform, said:
“Increasing the market share of Inland Waterway Transport from 6% tot 9 % by 2050 and this without any emissions – as set out by the European Commission, cannot be done without proper Research, Development and Innovation. Indeed, inland waterway transport as well as maritime transport, and the development of solutions for both segments, are in the heart of the Technology Platform. With the challenges upfront of us, and the average lifetime of the vessels, all support to speed up the development of innovative solutions will be key. Not only, to contribute to the achievement of policy objectives, but certainly to deliver solutions for the benefit of future generations”.