Call for strong governance and additional IWT funding.
Fruitful exchange on future IWT sector at high-level 1st PLATINA3 Stage event.
Over 250 experts and stakeholders gathered on the 7th and 8th April 2021 for the first PLATINA3 Stage event called “the Budapest Sessions” hosted by the Danube Commission. This two day online event was opened by several high-level speakers. The interest and participation of high quality speakers clearly demonstrated the importance of addressing inland waterway transport policy at European level and the interest in sharing experiences, know-how and views on the future.
In the opening session, the President of the Danube Commission Liubov Nepop highlighted the importance of a close cooperation between EU and non-EU member states in the Danube region for tapping the full economic potentials of the Danube waterway. The expected NAIADES III Action plan dedicated for IWT policy in Europe was presented by Daniela Rosca from EC/DG MOVE. The Action plan aims at increasing digitalisation, increasing the modal share with adequate infrastructure and ensuring the development towards zero-emission inland navigation. A clear investment roadmap with public and private funds is necessary. The PLATINA3 project will support the NAIADES III implementation, for example by providing roadmaps, including for alternative fuels technology, and by providing a clear vision for the digitalisation of the sector and creating support and standards for innovative skills.
Need for funding
The need for dedicated policy actions and funding for IWT was also stressed by Member of European Parliament Caroline Nagtegaal-van Doorn (Renew Europe/TRAN): “Funds need to be easily accessible; a one stop shop system. Show leadership and make the green and digital dream reality!” Her EP-colleague Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP, TRAN) further stressed the need for a stronger governance from the EU level and a stronger political commitment on the Member States level.
Lydia Peeters, Minister of Mobility of Flanders, pointed out that existing IWT is a lever for the economy, while there is still a huge potential to increase market share. “To realize modal shift a mental shift is needed. A joint approach with all governments and at European level will set the right course”. Veljko Kovačević, assistant minister of Transport of the Republic of Serbia, explained the importance of IWT for the development a sustainable Serbian transport system. “For the success of IWT it is also very important to focus on the needs of the IWT customers and to provide competitive services with inland navigation.”
The high-level opening was followed by other technical sessions addressing the topics:
- Financing the greening of the fleet
- European toolbox for emission and energy labelling
- Alternative energy infrastructure along the waterway and in ports
- IWT as a reliable partner of synchro-modal logistics chains using smart waterways
- Competence based training – inspiration for (future) crew members in IWT
The closing session was completed with inspiring speeches by IWT entrepreneurs Sebastiaan van der Meer (Sendo Shipping) and Paul Ivanov (Trading Line). They made clear that a high level of innovations is already possible, the future of IWT is now!
All presentations can be downloaded from the PLATINA3 website: www.platina3.eu/budapest. The 2nd Stage event is planned for the 19th and 20th of October in Strasbourg: save the date!