Danube SKILLS Increased institutional capacity in Danube navigation by boosting joint transnational competences and skills in education and public development services

Interview with VBW representatives

Marcel Lohbeck, Managing Director of the Association for European Inland Navigation and Waterways in Duisburg (VBW, Germany) and Dr. Wolfgang Hönemann, German Representative of the Port of Rotterdam and chairman of VBW’s working committee on transport economics shared with Danube SKILLs partner, VIA DONAU, their experience related to VBW initiatives for fostering modal shift to inland waterway transport.

Could you please inform the readers of this interview about the tasks that are carried out by VBW and the geographical area that your organisation covers? 

Which international initiatives does VBW engage in to foster a modal shift to inland waterway transport?

VBW works closely with national and international branch organizations on crucial issues such as the improvement of infrastructure quality, the ecological development of the inland fleet, the integration of IWT into digitalized supply chains. VBW is also a member of several EU und CCNR working groups.

Which kind of services and promotion actions does VBW offer to actively promote inland waterway transport (IWT) in the relevant industries and business sectors?

The core of the think-tank VBW includes its five working committees, „Inland Ships“, „Shipping Law“, „Inland Waterways and Harbours“, „Telematics“, and „Transport Economy“. VBW working committees’ work is internationally accredited. Recommendations by the working committees have often contributed significantly to setting technical and legal standards. Around 80 experts from VBW-members work here voluntarily and interdisciplinary on a broad scale of topics and projects. The projects are defined by the working committees in a collaborative process with the other VBW bodies and are summarized in an annual working programme thereby securing a high level of transparency and relevance. The working committees are tasked with:

• identifying and working on future topics

• promoting a cross sectoral exchange

• the publication of data and recommendations on economical, legal and technical issues

• setting impulses for further research and development

Our members gain access to a unique independent international branch and expert network. They get the chance to meet new potential business and project partners. At our best-practice-days, workshops and seminars and through the plenary sessions of our working committees they benefit from knowledge of VBW-experts and take part in an international exchange of information and experiences. Members receive exclusive data collections and publications about relevant issues for your business but also information on important future trends and upcoming issues on the topics: logistics, law and technology. Our members are part of a broad and cost-efficient alliance for the promotion of inland waterway transport. Through working within the VBW-network members have the chance to contribute significantly to setting practical legal and technological standards.

Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)