The GREEN DANUBE Policy Agenda Validation Workshop organised by Pro Danube Management GmbH in Vienna, Austria, offered a platform for inland waterway transport (IWT) stakeholders from public authorities, fleet operators and other IWT experts to discuss the policy needs towards the greening of the inland waterway vessels. The inland vessels’ modernisation activities that will be carried out in the GRENDEL project were as well presented as part of the capitalisation work in the Danube Transnational Programme and the experts participated in the discussion with the sector.
The partakers agreed that the modernisation and greening of the old Danube fleet is a must. It is no longer an option but an obligation if IWT is to assert and strengthen its position as a sustainable alternative to other more polluting modes of transport, in particular road transport. The necessary measures and recommendations for the policy makers were discussed. The main outcomes of the discussions carried out during the workshop are listed in the following:
- The inland waterway transport sector is environmentally friendly transport mode when comparing the modes per ton-kilometer.
- The industry requests a fair and clear comparison basis for the assessment of the environmental friendliness and emitted emissions of various transport modes comparing them on the basis of ton-kilometer (freight transport) or person-kilometer (passenger transport).
- The limits imposed by the NRMM are challenging to achieve especially when considering that there is so far only a very limited number of NRMM Stage V engines whereas the type certification for these engines is currently on-going.
- There is no general solution applicable for all vessels but rather various solutions for various types of vessels depending on where the vessel sails or what it transports (areas of application of a vessel). What is common is the fact that all greening measures cost more money and present no (or limited) business case which would justify the investment of time, money and resources. And without a business case, no project would ever get off the ground.
- Any proposed support measures including future State Aid schemes shall be technology neutral; rather addressing the emission limits that need to be reached than defining the technologies which shall be used to reach these limits.
- Technology neutrality could be achieved in terms of emissions, however in terms of safety and security this is more difficult. The safety and security aspects being included in the future support schemes shall address rather operational improvements - supporting the skipper in (difficult) navigational/operational aspects and situations.
- The investments into new vessels shall be subsidised in the same manner as retrofitting. This way the modernisation and the renewal of the Danube fleet can be achieved.