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EMMA ensures inland shipping a better standing in policy and society

(Posted on 15/06/18)

Project EMMA, funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014–2020, has actively contributed to raising the awareness of the potential of inland navigation and giving inland waterway transport a stronger voice and better standing in policy and society. Several actions to develop inland shipping have recently taken place around the Baltic Sea Region.

In Germany, a joint declaration of eight IWW organizations and associations was handed over to the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure during the Elbshiffaahrtstag conference in Wittenberg. The conference focused on the adopted “Elbe master plan”, the maintenance condition of inland waterways in the Elbe region and possible improvements for navigable conditions. EMMA project paved the way to the joint declaration by offering a neutral platform for discussions and finding a common agreement on the joint declaration. Boris Kluge from the Federation of German Inland Ports, which is a partner organization in project EMMA, represented the consortia that included also the Elbe Allianz, Bündnis Elbe-Seitenkanal, European River-Sea-Transport Union, Weitblick–Verkehrsinfrastruktur, Wirtschaft Logistik, Chamber Union Elbe-Oder, Verein zur Förderung des Stromgebiets Oder/Havel and Port of Hamburg Marketing - the Lead partner in project EMMA. Kluge presented the catalogue of demands in which the consortia asked for political support to achieve better navigational conditions by enhanced maintenance measures, digitalization along waterways and expansion measures for infrastructure.


In Sweden, the barge operator Avatar Logistics AB, one of the partners in project EMMA, organized an inland navigation conference in Stockholm together with the City of Stockholm. The main topic of the conference was how to establish and develop inland navigation logistics within the regional areas in Sweden. Karin de Schepper, Director at Inland Navigation Europe, shared examples of successful IWW development from a European perspective and gave recommendations on how Sweden can boost the development of inland navigation by closer integration with other EU countries. The representative of the City of Stockholm explained the city’s need for waterway solutions that results from the increased congestion and environmental impacts of the road transport system. In addition, a round table meeting took place in Stockholm to establish a consensus among the key actors on the future of inland navigation in Sweden. Representatives of e.g. Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, Swedish Transport Administration, Swedish Maritime Administration, Swedish Transport Agency, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Swedish Royal Institute of Technology and City of Stockholm as well as several Swedish ports listed activities that will move the Swedish inland navigation forward.

In Finland, five provincial federations from the Eastern Finland, among them the Regional Council of North Karelia which is also a partner organization in EMMA, published a position paper stating that the development of the Saimaa Canal supports the investments in industry and is an essential part of the transport system in the Eastern Finland. According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the discussion about the future and the development of inland waterway transport is a topical issue due to the industrial investment plans and growing environmental goals. The ministry agreed that a clear outlook for the condition of waterways is needed to support long-term investments in fleet.

As part of the 9th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), EMMA also co-hosted a seminar “Delivering Smart and Innovative Strategic Transport Projects: post-2020 perspective” in Tallinn with the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania and Mr. Algirdas Šakalys, Coordinator of the Transport Policy Area of the EUSBSR. At the seminar, Project Manager of EMMA, Gunnar Platz from PLANCO Consulting, stressed the role inland waterway transport could play in the Baltic Sea Region.

In all these activities, EMMA has actively collaborated with the sector’s stakeholders in giving inland waterway transport a stronger voice, thus improving its standing in policy and society.

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