The European Commission today adopted the NAIADES II action program to create changes in the inland waterway structure that will allow for the greater flow of ocean freight throughout Europe.
The new policy will improve infrastructure quality through the Connecting Europe Facility, which also aims to integrate waterway transport into the supply chain. Reducing emissions and promoting innovation is also important in the new program, as is addressing where governmental policies overlap and creating a streamlined approach to regulation.
NAIADES II is also concerned with creating qualified, skilled workers and improving the ocean freight market through restructuring.
"We already send 500 million tons of freight along our rivers and canals each year. That's the equivalent of 25 million trucks. But it's not enough,” Siim Kallas, the commission’s vice president, said in a statement. “We need to help the waterway transport industry develop over the longer term into a high quality sector. We need to remove the bottlenecks holding it back, and to invest in the skills of its workforce."
According to Kallas, issues that need to be solved include bottlenecks brought on by inadequate or outdated infrastructure, improving links in the transportation chain that connect ocean vessels with trucks and rail cars at ports, and putting ocean transportation jobs in the limelight.
The new policy is an update to NAIADES I, which introduced more than 30 actions in 2006 to improve inland navigation. - Jon Ross