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PUBLISHED: 
30 Jan 2019

Towards a Strategic Research Agenda for Inland Waterway Transport

On 24 January, the Inland Waterway Transport Sector released its Strategic Research Agenda to the European Commission. The sector based the Strategic Research Agenda on its ability to address EU challenges, to meet the COP21 objectives and societal needs by adopting emerging technologies towards 2050. The IMDO welcomes the publication of this Strategic Research Agenda for Europe's Maritime sector.

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The sector will thereby contribute to the following objectives:

-          Healthy and easy-to-reach cities;

-          Zero-emission and resource efficient economy;

-          Easy-to-use and reliable mobility and logistics;

-          Climate resilient, thriving and sustainable waterfront.

These objectives require investments in research & development activities, both by the sector as well as by the European Commission. A proper inclusion of the Inland Waterway Transport and Port sector in Horizon Europe, is thereby essential. Equally important is the need to support research and deployment activities in inland waterway transport through the Connecting Europe Facility 2021 – 2027 so as to enable the sector to further integrate in a zero-emission logistics chain.

The development of this Strategic Research Agenda is the result of a close cooperation between the Inland Waterway Transport and Port Organisations (European Barge Union and European Skippers’ Organisation), European Inland Barging Innovation Platform (EIBIP), Inland Navigation Europe (INE), European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP), with the support of the European Association of Shipyards and Maritime Equipment Manufacturers (SEA Europe).

The Strategic Research Agenda is available here.

Background Note:  Inland waterway transport and ports play an important role in the transport of goods in Europe. More than 40,000 kilometers of navigable waterways and over 250 inland ports connect hundreds of cities and industrial regions. 75% of inland waterway transport takes place across borders. 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 enables to reach key economic regions thanks to free capacity and with reliable, energy efficient transport.  The EU 28 waterborne technology industry is currently the leading global region in terms of aggregated production value of shipbuilding and ship systems production (EUR 112.5 Billion), and an important generator of employment (900.000 direct and indirect jobs).