EBU releases its latest annu­al report

Inland waterway transport (IWT) is one of the modes designated and able to absorb higher shares of cargo and passenger volumes on the European waterways. It is part of the solution to meet the sustainability goals and to keep Europe moving.

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To dis­co­ver the pos­si­bi­li­ties of the sec­tor in incre­asing its modal share, mind shifts are nee­ded to dis­c­lo­se and attract new mar­kets.  A num­ber of new initia­ti­ves are expec­ted to address this chall­enge by sti­mu­la­ting a bet­ter inte­gra­ti­on of IWT into the logi­stics chain and to level the play­ing field with other modes in terms of regu­la­to­ry and fun­ding sup­port. Cer­tain­ly, the announ­ced EU poli­ci­es tog­e­ther with the con­cre­te legis­la­ti­ve mea­su­res should be tail­o­red to the sector’s needs to tap its full potential. 

To ser­ve its cli­ents as a relia­ble car­ri­er, IWT, howe­ver, first and fore­most is depen­ding on the infra­struc­tu­re net­work. The extre­me low water sea­son in sum­mer 2022 demons­tra­ted the more urgent need for cli­ma­te pro­of infra­struc­tu­re requi­ring pro­per main­ten­an­ce, reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on and rege­ne­ra­ti­on of the water­ways next to suf­fi­ci­ent invest­ments in new infrastructure. 

Obvious­ly, the sec­tor – alt­hough known for its posi­ti­ve envi­ron­men­tal record – is facing huge chal­lenges in terms of inno­va­ti­on and its tran­si­ti­on towards lower emis­si­on per­for­mance. Given the long life span of inland ves­sels and their engi­nes, the invest­ments in the gree­ning paths need to be future pro­of. The cur­rent uncer­tain­ty regar­ding the future tech­no­lo­gy and avai­la­bi­li­ty of suf­fi­ci­ent alter­na­ti­ve fuels tog­e­ther with the huge invest­ment cos­ts ham­pers the quick tran­si­ti­on of the sec­tor. This calls for con­cer­ted actions from public and pri­va­te stakeholders.

At the same time, the IWT sec­tor is taking initia­ti­ves to attract man­power. Like other modes of trans­port, it lacks qua­li­fied staff on board of the ves­sels. The recent­ly adopted legal frame­work should sup­port the mobi­li­ty of workers via the har­mo­ni­sa­ti­on of pro­fes­sio­nal qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons. In addi­ti­on, new initia­ti­ves such as edu­ca­ti­on for new­co­mers and a dedi­ca­ted recruit­ment cam­paign should help to over­co­me the shorta­ge of workers in the sector.

EBU tog­e­ther with its exe­cu­ti­ve body, the IWT Plat­form, has been invol­ved in all are­as of rele­van­ce to voice the needs of the sec­tor and act as coun­ter­part of the respon­si­ble institutions.

You may read in the Annu­al Report EBU’s posi­ti­on on the various topics and the role IWT ful­fils as key play­er in the mul­ti­mo­dal trans­port chain.

Annu­al Report Download 

Cover Annu­al Report 2023


Quel­le & Kontakt:

The­re­sia Hack­stei­ner
Secre­ta­ry Gene­ral EBU
T: +31 653336366

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