Motion for a resolution - B8-0079/2019Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on NAIADES II – An action programme to support inland waterway transport

23.1.2019 - (2018/2882(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Karima Delli on behalf of the Committee on Transport and Tourism

Procedure : 2018/2882(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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European Parliament resolution on NAIADES II – An action programme to support inland waterway transport


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the question for oral answer to the Commission on NAIADES II – An action programme to support inland waterway transport (O-000016/2014 – B7-0104/2014),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 17 January 2006 on the promotion of inland waterway transport – ‘NAIADES – An Integrated Action Programme for Inland Waterway Transport’ (COM(2006)0006),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2006 on the promotion of inland waterway transport: NAIADES, an integrated European Action Programme for inland waterway transport[1],

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 September 2013 entitled ‘Towards quality inland waterway transport – NAIADES II’ (COM(2013)0623),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2014 on NAIADES II – An action programme to support inland waterway transport[2],

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 18 September 2018 entitled ‘Mid-term progress report on the implementation of the NAIADES II action programme for the promotion of inland waterway transport (covering the period 2014-2017)’ (SWD(2018)0428),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 July 2016 entitled ‘EU Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility’ (COM(2016)0501),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2011 on the Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system[3],

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas inland waterways link up important EU ports, cities, industrial centres and main agricultural areas, therefore making a considerable contribution to the EU goals of decarbonisation, sustainable growth and territorial cohesion;

B.  whereas a modal shift from road to inland shipping is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Paris agreement of 2015 (COP21), and whereas inland waterway transport has sufficient capacity to absorb much higher volumes of freight and passengers in order to relieve the congested European road transport system;

C.  whereas inland waterway transport is essential to diminish further negative effects of transport through more efficient use of land and energy and a reduction in noise and the number of accidents;

D.  whereas the inland waterway fleet would need to be modernised and adapted to reflect technical progress if improved environmental performance is to be achieved, thereby ensuring the competitive advantage of inland waterway transport in multimodal transport;

E.  whereas limited financial resources have been dedicated to the inland waterway sector so far, and whereas access to finance remains difficult for a sector primarily consisting of small businesses;

1.  Supports the specific actions undertaken so far and welcomes the further actions planned in the NAIADES II action programme 2014-2020;

2.  Urges the Commission to update and renew the NAIADES programme by 2020 to ensure that the potential of inland waterway transport as a safe, sustainable and effective mode of transport in the multimodal transport system can be fully exploited through a long-term EU strategy aimed at achieving a successful modal shift;

3.  Underlines that, when transport initiatives are being drafted, inland waterway transport must be considered within a holistic and long-term approach under the EU intermodal and sustainable transport policy;

4.  Emphasises that waterway tourism is a flourishing sector and that the competitiveness of important EU industries depends on reliable and cost-effective inland waterway transport for their supply of goods; calls therefore for proactive policies aimed at supporting a sustainable inland waterway sector, in particular in view of the digital, technological and environmental challenges in logistics and mobility;

5.  Notes that, by 2050, 80 % of the EU’s population will live in urban areas, increasing the demand for public transport and improved city logistics, and that it is often challenging and expensive to expand existing land infrastructure; calls on the Commission and the Member States to integrate inland navigation in urban and port policies and to fully exploit its potential for transporting goods and passengers, given that many EU cities are located along waterways, with a view to improving quality of life and reducing congestion levels;

6.  Underlines that previous action programmes have fallen short of their goals as the result of a lack of dedicated resources; calls on the Commission therefore to ensure that the NAIADES III action programme receives adequate and dedicated funding to achieve its goals, supported by a well-structured policy strategy with achievable short- and mid-term goals and a concrete roadmap that sets out, inter alia, the resources for implementation;

7.  Invites the Commission to regularly undertake market research and generate forecasts to better analyse shifting patterns for freight and passengers in inland waterway transport and to enable evidence-based policymaking and better respond to emerging trends and new markets;

8.  Underlines the importance of removing bottlenecks to achieve high-quality waterways as a condition for developing and integrating inland shipping and inland ports into the trans-European transport network (TEN-T); calls on the Commission to give funding priority under the Connecting Europe Facility to rehabilitating, adapting, upgrading and automating fairway, lock, bridge, shoreside and port infrastructure and improving cross-border sections of the core network;

9.  Emphasises, in addition to the Member States’ obligations to complete the core network by 2030, their responsibility for increasing the performance, reliability, availability and climate resilience of existing infrastructure through rehabilitation, in order to ensure the role of inland waterway transport as a trustworthy mode of transport and to promote a smart use of scarce financial resources;

10.  Welcomes the work planned and being carried out in the Atlantic, Baltic-Adriatic, Mediterranean, North Sea-Baltic, North Sea-Mediterranean, Orient-East Mediterranean, Rhine-Alpine and Rhine-Danube corridors, and the fact that, in general, more Member States are investing in the development of inland waterways and ports; calls on the Commission therefore to support the implementation of projects in the trans-European transport network (TEN-T);

11.  Points out that sufficient lock capacity is vital for effective and sustainable hinterland transport and that locks play an important role in safe water regulation management and in clean energy generation; calls on the Commission therefore to reserve sufficient grants for their rehabilitation, upgrade and renewal;

12.  Urges the Commission to privilege grants for inland waterway projects in general, since past experience with blending projects has shown that private partners were involved only in the execution of works, with the public authorities remaining responsible for financing, given the public and multi-purpose character of waterways;

13.  Notes that the digitalisation of inland waterway transport plays an important role in enhancing the efficiency, safety and environmental performance of inland navigation; calls on the Commission therefore to prepare an implementation strategy for the Digital Inland Waterway Area (DINA) and a suitable regulatory framework for connected and automated transport by water, including reviewing Directive 2005/44/EC on harmonised river information services (RIS), taking into account existing initiatives such as the RheinPorts Information System (RPIS) and creating a solid EU-wide legal basis for cross-border data exchange of fairway, voyage, cargo and traffic information with a single point of access;

14.  Underlines the importance of integrating digital inland waterway services into the data flow of other transport modes in order to facilitate seamless multimodal door-to-door services, as the combination of the physical internet and synchromodality enhances the bundling of volumes on corridors between seaports and hinterland leading to a more balanced use of land infrastructure capacity and a reduction in congestion levels and in other negative external effects;

15.  Stresses that, in order to comply with the objectives of the Paris agreement of 2015 (COP21), the resilience and decarbonisation of the transport system should be achieved through an accelerated shift to low-carbon transport, resource efficiency and clean propulsion; points out that this transition requires corresponding standards and funding to stimulate innovative waterway management, a wider uptake of clean vessels, and retrofitting where possible, and the deployment of the necessary refuelling infrastructure;

16.  Recommends exploiting synergies between clean energy grids and waterway networks to make optimal use of hydropower generated at waterways, wind energy in ports and other clean energy sources at waterside mobility hubs for supplying transport, households and industries while minimising distribution costs;

17.  Stresses the importance of providing appropriate funding for new technology, innovation and sustainable transport infrastructure and services under current and upcoming EU programmes such as the Connecting Europe Facility, Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, the single market, the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund in order to stimulate the deployment of innovation and increase the environmental and digital performance of inland waterway transport; calls on the Commission to establish dedicated funding streams to realise this goal;

18.  Notes that dedicated technological research should be complemented with socioeconomic and pre-normative research to foster innovation in regulation and financing and boost engagement of market players to ensure wide market uptake;

19.  Invites the Member States to further develop national strategies to stimulate and support inland waterway transport, taking into account the current NAIADES action programmes and the upcoming European Action Programme for inland waterway transport, and to encourage regional, local and port authorities to do the same;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


Last updated: 28 January 2019
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