An important role for the transport of goods

Inland waterway transport in Ukraine could play an important role for the transport of goods. The potential for increasing the modal share of inland waterway transport is significant. Compared to other modes of transport which are often confronted with congestion and capacity problems, inland waterway transport is characterised by its reliability, energy efficiency and major capacity for increased exploitation. The European Commission aims to promote and strengthen the competitive position of inland waterways in the transport system, and to facilitate its integration into the intermodal logistics chain.

Inland waterway transport is a competitive alternative to road and rail transport. In particular, it offers an environment-friendly alternative in terms of both energy consumption and noise emissions. Its energy consumption per km/ton of transported goods is approximately 17 % of that of road transport and 50 % of rail transport. In addition, inland waterway transport ensures a high degree of safety, in particular when it comes to the transportation of dangerous goods. Finally, it contributes to decongesting overloaded road networks in densely populated regions.

Promotion of IWT

By creating favourable conditions for the further development of the sector, the EU Commission hopes to encourage more companies to use this mode of transport. The policy to promote inland waterway transport in Europe is encapsulated in the NAIADES  Action Programme.

Carriage of goods by inland waterways is climate-friendly and energy-efficient and can significantly contribute to sustainable mobility in Europe. The European Commission believes that transport by inland waterways must be better used in order to relieve heavily congested transport corridors.

The European Commission is also promoting inland waterway transport through various funding and financing programmes, such as the Connecting Europe Facility Horizon 2020 the European Fund for Strategic Investments  and through the Cohesion policy.

Inland Waterways Vessels

Directive (EU) 2016/1629 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels, amending Directive 2009/100/EC and repealing Directive 2006/87/EC was adopted on 16 September 2016. It is applicable from 7 October 2018  and it establishes the system of technical requirements for inland navigation vessels, set up an inspection regime, as well as provide provisions on derogation for some type of vessels.

As a result, the requirements for navigation certificates on inland waterways are identical across all Member States. This ensures simplification of rules leading to high levels of safety and contribute directly to President Juncker's priority of a deeper and fairer internal market.

Inland Waterways Market Observation

Regular observation and analysis of the inland waterway transport sector is carried out, on behalf of the European Commission, by the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR), in collaboration with European inland navigation organisations. This market observatory  supports further promotion of the sector and allows analysis of its development.

The regular reports provide:

  • an analysis of the demand for inland waterway transport;
  • an analysis of the offer on the inland waterway market;
  • an overview of navigation conditions on Europe’s inland waterways;
  • a microeconomic analysis of the sector.

Policy and other related documents