Five very innovative vessels called at the port of Brussels to show technological solutions to cut CO2 and air emissions to a minimum to European decision makers and stakeholders. They include zero-emission technologies
such as battery-electric, gas-electric, ultra clean biofuel power drivetrains and hydrogen.
Inland shipping, smart and sustainable
Inland waterway transport is known for its sustainable record. Moving forward to further improve its performance, it aims to reach an emission reduction of more than 50% by 2030 and to sail zero-emission by
2050 offering climate neutral and zero-pollution mobility.
Inland ports, as enablers of green logistics, are supporting this transition by rolling out alternative fuels infrastructure and market measures. As hubs, inland ports envision connecting climate-friendly inland shipping
with other sustainable transport modes and logistical solutions.
By doing so, the sector strives to substantially increase its share. Sustainable and innovative inland shipping will play a predominant role in smart and sustainable transport.
Apart from these goals for the long distance, inland shipping and ports play an increasing role in urban mobility. An initiative of an electric ship for urban delivery of parcels was presented in combination with cargo bikes, completing the last mile. Other innovative solutions demonstrated were unmanned shipping remotely controlled from shore and a pilot with fuel cell/hydrogen technology for zero-emission container shipping.
The potential of inland shipping and ports to help realise the EU agenda
High-ranking representatives of the European Commission, Council and Parliament were guided around on the five vessels and could witness the innovative solutions in the sector. They took note of the significant
modal shift potential of inland navigation and the sector’s ongoing work to reach the sustainability goals of the European Union.
Against the background of the recently released Agenda for Europe “A Union that strives for more: MyAgenda” of the new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, which lays down a European strategic long-term vision, inland waterway transport offers quality solutions to keep path with the ambitious decarbonisation challenges.
Annual congestion costs reach 1% EU GDP and the GHG emission share of transport continues to rise instead of decreasing. With over 40,000 km of navigable waterways and 250 inland ports, inland waterway transport carries some 560 million tonnes of goods per year and is of increasing importance in the field of cruising and passenger transport. Already today, major industries in Europe are depending on a seamless supply of their goods via waterways. It keeps business and trade up and running, enables the completion of the internal market, and enhances tourism. Contrary to the congested roads, European waterways still dispose of free capacity, offering a significant modal shift potential. Therefore, fostering clean and reliable transport solutions by waterway transport and inland ports can enable more economic growth in Europe’s waterborne regions and increase prosperity and quality of life.