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Thu November 30 2023

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Germany announces major investment in inland waterways

17 May 19 Germany’s transport ministry has set out a masterplan for increasing the amount of freight moved using the inland waterway network.

The Federal Ministry of Transport & Digital Infrastructure presented the Inland Waterway Transport Masterplan, which is seen as the foundation for future-proofing inland waterway transport and making it more attractive. The plan was developed in cooperation with the trade associations, the industry and other stakeholders.

“We need modern and strong inland waterway transport,” said federal minister Andreas Scheuer.

He added: “We want to boost inland waterway transport and move as many goods as possible by waterway. Inland waterway vessels are secret freight transport giants – high-capacity, safe and efficient. Self-propelled barges with a capacity of 3,000 tonnes can replace up to 150 heavy goods vehicles. There is huge potential here, and we want to make even better use of it. For this purpose, we have now created the Inland Waterway Transport Masterplan. We will not be able to reduce carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions in Germany unless we modernise the inland waterway transport sector and shift more freight to the waterways.”

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The Inland Waterway Transport Masterplan focuses on five key priorities:

  • Infrastructure - investment of billions of euros to ensure that there is sufficient financial, structural and manpower capacity in the waterway sector;
  • Environmental friendliness and fleet structure – supporting the industry in switching to more efficient and lower-emission vessels;
  • Digitalisation - creation of ‘Inland Waterway Transport 4.0’, involving connecting ports, digitalising the locks and vessels and automating the terminals;
  • Boosting the multimodal transport chain – with the objective is that inland waterway transport should account for 12 percent of the freight moved in the modal split;
  • More skilled workers - supporting trade associations in attracting new workers and in their nationwide drive at recruiting fairs.

Work on producing the Inland Waterway Transport Masterplan started just under a year ago.  

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