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Inland waterways

Promotion of inland waterway transport

By creating favourable conditions for the further development of the sector, the Commission hopes to encourage more companies to use this mode of transport. The policy to promote inland waterway transport in Europe is encapsulated in the NAIADES  Action Programme. The implementation of NAIADES  is supported by the implementation platform PLATINA

Carriage of goods by inland waterways is climate-friendly and energy-efficient and can significantly contribute to sustainable mobility in Europe. The European Commission believes that transport by inland waterways must be better used in order to relieve heavily congested transport corridors.

The NAIADES Action Programme comprises numerous actions and measures to boost transport on inland waterways. The programme runs until 2020 and is to be implemented by the European Commission, the Member States and the industry itself. The European Commission regularly monitors the implementation of NAIADES pdf - 481 KB [481 KB] .

The European Commission is also promoting inland waterway transport through various funding and financing programmes, such as the Connecting Europe Facility Horizon 2020 the European Fund for Strategic Investments  and through the Cohesion policy . A funding database  provides an overview of available public funding for inland waterway transport. 

Policy and other related documents

Danube Strategy: Transport ministers to cooperate on navigability

At the initiative of the Commission, transport ministers of the riparian states of the Danube met for the first time on 7 June 2012 in Luxembourg and agreed on a declaration  reasserting existing obligations to maintain the fairway to a good standard and committing to tackle problems like low water or ice and to coordinate actions through the structures of the Danube Strategy and the Trans-European Transport Network Coordinator for Inland Waterways. The ministers met again in Brussels on 3 December 2014 and agreed on Conclusions   endorsing the Master Plan  for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the river and its tributaries , In accordance with this plan, the signatories to the Belgrade Convention will put in place from 2015 onwards national actions and cross-border co-ordination procedures to respond to the challenges and re-establish optimal and safe navigation conditions.


The Ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Conclusions. Serbia has joined its signature to the conclusions at a later stage. Hungary did not yet sign the Conclusions but expressed a message of support and left open the perspective of joining the conclusions later.