Mobility and Transport

Inland waterways

Inland waterways

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What do we want to achieve ?

Inland waterway transport plays an important role for the transport of goods in Europe. More than 37,000 kilometres of waterways connect hundreds of cities and industrial regions. 13 Member States have an interconnected waterway network. The potential for increasing the modal share of inland waterway transport is significant. Compared to other modes of transport which are often confronted with congestion and capacity problems, inland waterway transport is characterised by its reliability, energy efficiency and major capacity for increased exploitation. The European Commission aims to promote and strengthen the competitive position of inland waterways in the transport system, and to facilitate its integration into the intermodal logistics chain.

Inland waterway transport is a competitive alternative to road and rail transport. In particular, it offers an environment-friendly alternative in terms of both energy consumption and noise emissions. Its energy consumption per km/ton of transported goods is approximately 17 % of that of road transport and 50 % of rail transport. In addition, inland waterway transport ensures a high degree of safety, in particular when it comes to the transportation of dangerous goods. Finally, it contributes to decongesting overloaded road networks in densely populated regions.


Summaries of EU legislation: Waterborne transport

PDF iconCompilation of EU legislation in the field of inland waterways


See all Transport related Brexit preparedness notices

Notice to stakeholders - Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of aviation security and maritime security

Notice to stakeholders - Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of industrial products

Notice to operators subject to Union legislation in the field of inland waterways

Information for border users in case of a no-deal (French Customs)

Internal EU27 preparatory discussions on the framework for the future relationship: