By creating favourable conditions for the further development of the sector, the 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. The implementation of NAIADES is supported by the NAIADES Expert Group.
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 NAIADES Action Programme comprises numerous actions and measures to boost transport on inland waterways. The programme runs until 2020 and is to be implemented by the European Commission, the Member States and the industry itself.
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. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Inland Waterways Portfolio provides an overview of CEF support for the period 2014-2017 to inland waterway transport.
Policy and other related documents
Danube Strategy: Transport ministers to cooperate on navigability
At the initiative of the Commission, transport ministers of the riparian states of the Danube met for the first time on 7 June 2012 in Luxembourg and agreed on a declaration reasserting existing obligations to maintain the fairway to a good standard and committing to tackle hydrological problems (low water or ice) and to coordinate actions involving the Rhine Danube Corridor Coordinator through the structures of the Danube Strategy. The ministers met again in Brussels on 3 December 2014 and agreed on Conclusions endorsing the Master Plan for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the river and its tributaries , In accordance with this plan, the signatories to the Belgrade Convention have put in place as of 2015 national actions and cross-border co-ordination procedures to respond to the challenges and re-establish optimal and safe navigation conditions.
The Ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Conclusions. Serbia has joined its signature to the conclusions at a later stage. Hungary did not yet sign the Conclusions but expressed a message of support and left open the perspective of joining the conclusions later. Ministers met again in the margin of the TEN-T Days in Rotterdam on 20 June 2016 and co-signed a declaration on effective waterway infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance on the Danube and its navigable tributaries.