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Monday, September 27, 2021 

The EU Waterborne Technology Platform has welcomed a resolution of the European Parliament on the future of inland waterway transport, following adoption of a resolution detailing the road to future-proof inland waterway transport in Europe.

The resolution stipulates the important role of R&D and innovation regarding the transformation to climate-neutral solutions and the corresponding port infrastructure, green shipbuilding, as well as digital and autonomous waterborne transport.

With more than 37,000km of waterways connecting cities and industrial regions in 13 EU Member States, the potential for increasing the modal share of inland waterway transport seen as significant. However, this increase will depend upon the availability of cost-efficient technologies to accelerate the transformation into a zero-emission, digital, safe and competitive mode of transport.

The Inland Waterway Transport sector has itself increased its efforts in Research, Development and Innovation, by joining forces with other actors in the waterborne transport sector, by joining the Waterborne Technology Platform.

The importance of the Co-Programmed Partnership on Zero-Emission Waterborne Transport in the framework of Horizon Europe is emphasised in the resolution.

Nik Delmeire, Board member of the Waterborne Technology Platform, said: “It is encouraging that the European Parliament, on its own initiative, developed and adopted a resolution on the future of Inland Waterway Transport in Europe. It not only shows the strategic importance of the sector in terms of transport mode, it also clearly underlines the political support. As a member of the Board of the Waterborne Technology Platform, the reference to the importance of Research, Development and Innovation is encouraging. Increasing the market share of Inland Waterway Transport from 6% to 9% by 2050 and this without any emissions – as set out by the European Commission, cannot be done without proper Research, Development and Innovation. Indeed, inland waterway transport as well as maritime transport, and the development of solutions for both segments, are in the heart of the Technology Platform. With the challenges upfront of us, and the average lifetime of the vessels, all support to speed up the development of innovative solutions will be key. Not only, to contribute to the achievement of policy objectives, but certainly to deliver solutions for the benefit of future generations.”

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