The European Federation of Inland Ports supports the course set by the “Towards Future-proof Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) in Europe Report”
The European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) applauds the “Towards Future-proof Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) in Europe Report” report by MEP Caroline Nagtegaal-van Doorn adopted in the TRAN Committee of the European Parliament on 28 June 2021. The essential role that the report foresees for inland ports to achieve the European Green Deal underlines their commitment as Enablers of Green Logistics.
The report outlines the steps that need to be taken in order to ensure the longevity and economic importance of inland shipping on the European level. The report received overwhelming support across the TRAN Committee, underlining the European support for and importance of the sector.
EFIP President Friedrich Lehr commented: “The inland ports welcome this continued support for inland shipping. Increasing the modal share is a core priority of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and the report from the TRAN Committee reinforces this European commitment. The support from across the political spectrum is heartening. It means we are all working together to realise the Green Deal. I thank the rapporteur Ms Nagtegaal and all the co-rapporteurs for their efforts in supporting our sector.”
Port of Switzerland, © Patrik Walde
Core to the report is the increase of reliability of inland shipping. This is the foundation to realise the modal shift. Improved reliability through infrastructure revival and upgrading makes the sector more attractive and increases its competitiveness. Coupled with innovations in digitalisation, this will increase the efficiency of inland shipping even further. The report rightly emphasises the need for digital multimodal data exchange in order to improve the potential of intermodal transport.
A main challenge facing the sector is the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure that must support the greening of the sector. The TRAN report proposes that this should be done through a corridor approach in which, across the European network, new fuels infrastructure is only deployed based on the needs of the users and the technical requirements of the vessels. Such a planned approach will allow for a fast deployment of the infrastructure as core nodes can be developed first while avoiding poor investments and stranded assets.
Finally, the TRAN report identifies the untapped potential of inland shipping in urban areas. Inland ports have been developing novel and innovative ways of using their waterways to service their local communities and provide green last-mile logistical solutions. In order to take urban inland shipping to the next level, European support will be needed. In the coming years, the European Union will propose initiatives to further develop urban mobility and the support from this report already solidifies the role of inland ports in those future discussions.