Discover the innovation of inland waterway vessels - CED side event

Press Releases

03 April 2024

Green inland ships open the Connecting Europe Days in Brussels

Three innovative vessels called at the port of Brussels to show technical developments in zero and low carbon navigation to high-level participants of the Connecting Europe Days under the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. These vessels and an exhibition with more examples demonstrate transition and zero-emission technologies such as battery-electric, gas-electric, and hydrogen. Next to that a number of new developments in terms of remote control and deployment of innovative technologies in inland waterway transport were highlighted.

Picture taken by P. Vanoutrive.

Realising the European Green Deal through IWT

Inland waterway transport (IWT) today is known as one of the two most sustainable modes of transport. It was therefore recognised by the European Union to receive more freight transport in its modal shift objectives. Inland vessels already today hold a positive record in terms of emissions and are committed to move towards full decarbonisation.

The event was opened by the Ministers of Transport for the Regions of Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia who praised and recognised the sustainable potential of IWT and called for continued Europe wide support. Belgium has supported the development of innovative inland vessels and future proof infrastructure to ensure the foreseen modal shift.

Support for the transformation

The event also saw the launch of the “INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT & PORTS AGENDA 2024 ONWARDS” which outlines the objectives of the sector’s attempts and needs to achieve climate neutrality, increasing resilience, improving digitalisation and adopting automation.

In order to achieve such a transformation substantial investment and appropriate funding schemes would be required. These need to be combined with consistent policies supporting the shift away from polluting modes of transport as well as the creation of a framework to support digitalisation of the whole IWT value chain. Throughout, innovation support will remain foundational to ensure the necessary technological and operational advancements.

The event was closed by Director-General of DG MOVE Magda Kopczyńska of the European Commission saying “The future of transport in Europe must be smart and sustainable. Inland navigation stands out as one of the most energy-efficient modes already. We are pushing for a reduction of carbon emissions across all vessels and a seamless integration of inland waterways into the transport chain. Today, I am confident that the sector is ready to tackle its challenges head-on.”

Picture taken by P. Vanoutrive.

The European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) brings together nearly 200 inland ports and port authorities in 18 countries of the European Union, Switzerland, Serbia and Ukraine. EFIP highlights and promotes the role of European inland ports as real intermodal nodal points in the transport and logistic chain, combining inland waterway transport with rail, road, and maritime transport.

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