Improving inland navigation along the EU’s longest river

The economy of south-eastern Europe is expected to benefit from improvements made to the management of freight and passenger transport along the Danube.

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The Board of Directors from the eight Danube countries represented in the project. The Board of Directors from the eight Danube countries represented in the project.

With a total length of 2 888 km, the Danube is the longest river to flow through the European Union.  Rising in Germany’s Black Forest, the international waterway wends its way south-eastwards for most of its course and passes through ten countries and four capital cities before emptying into the Black Sea.

As river transport is increasingly seen as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly means of transport, an ERDF-funded project entitled NEWADA (Network of Danube Waterway Administrations) has explored how the management of the river – designated Pan-European Transport Corridor VII – can be improved to maximise the river’s potential as an important transport route for south-east Europe.

This objective was achieved by intensifying cooperation and the exchange of know-how and best practice between the national waterway authorities who are responsible for the river’s management. Ten agencies in eight different Danube states participated in the project.

Cooperation and information exchange

The project involved co-operating on national action plans, feasibility studies, bilateral projects and implementation guidelines for improving the waterway’s maintenance and engineering work. It also involved exchanging information on hydrological and hydrographical tasks, improving the physical accessibility of the waterway and improving electronic navigation charts.

The 36-month project, which came to an end in 2012, also involved enhancing information and communication networks with the aim of making waterway-related data being made available to the administrations of neighbouring countries, third parties and users. 

Project manager Markus Schedlbauer said that, although work remained to be done, the project had proved that, despite cultural differences, the Danube’s various waterway administrations could work together to help achieve a common goal. 

The NEWADA project has been highlighted for its best practice in both the South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme and in the Danube Strategy Action Plan. A follow up project, ‘NEWADA duo’, has since been approved to further progress the work of the NEWADA partnership.

“For the first time a sustainable network between waterway administrations was created and furthermore concrete measures and financing plans for future network development were provided.”

- Markus Schedlbauer, Project manager

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “NEWADA: Network of Danube Waterway Administrations” was EUR 2 862 781 of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 2 224 960 through the South-East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. Project partners contributed EUR 431 182 and EUR 208 404 was made available to non-EU countries participating in the project through the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA).

Draft date