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Europe looks at inland waterway alternatives

Seeking to relieve transportation congestion, delays and harmful environmental impacts - sound familiar? - the European Commission ( recently proposed an Action Program to help move cargo away from ports through the Inland Waterway Transport, which can be fully integrated into door-to-door supply chains.

Beginning this year and aimed for completion in 2013, the Commission expects that some 11,000 vessels could make use of Europe's inland waterways, which would take the equivalent of 10,000 trains or 440,000 trucks out of the delivery system.

According to the Commission, "The Action Program addresses five key components: services, fleet, staff, image, and infrastructure. The program focuses on five strategic areas: creating favorable conditions for services and attracting new markets; stimulating fleet modernization and innovation; attracting new workforce and increasing investment in human capital; promoting Inland Waterway Transport as a successful business partner through a promotional network; and providing an adequate inland waterway infrastructure."

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