EU Waterborne Transport Sector – Future outlook

Press Release: The Waterborne Technology Platform welcomes the Ministerial Declaration regarding the future outlook for the European Waterborne Transport Sector, as adopted by the EU Transport Ministers during a meeting in Croatia last week. This declaration is the first of its kind, and recognises both the importance of maritime shipping, inland waterway transport and the broader waterborne transport sector in one declaration.

The declaration is fully in line with the content of the Strategic Research Agenda of the Waterborne Technology Platform as launched in January 2019. It does not only highlight the need to transform to a zero-emission mode of transport, but at the same time emphasizes the potential of digitalisation for the waterborne transport sector as well. In addition, zero-accidents and zero-loss of life are cornerstones of the declaration. Finally, the competitiveness of the European waterborne transport sector will be another point of attention for policy making in the coming months.

Regarding research and innovation, the specific support for the candidate co-programmed partnership zero-emission waterborne transport in the framework of Horizon Europe is an important political sign. It shows the urgent need to increase not only the research and innovation activities, but at the same time the fact that a coordinated approach is the only way forward to be able to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal.

In a first reaction, the Chairman of the Waterborne Technology Platform, Henk Prins, said “The Ministerial Declaration shows the relevance of the Strategic Research of the Waterborne Technology Platform. It not only contains a clear reference to the co-programmed Partnership zero-emission
waterborne transport, it also provides a clear sign on the need for research and innovation related to digitalisation at the same time as well. Finally, one of the key objectives of the Waterborne Technology Platform is the goal of zero-accidents, zero loss-of-life, zero-pollution to the environment by latest 2050, as highlighted in the Ministerial Declaration as well. Last but not least, Europe has all the tools to deliver the technologies needed to achieve all these objectives, and thereby competitiveness of the European
waterborne transport sector will be key.”

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