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Newsletter September 2020
We would like to update you on the activities carried out by our association since our last mailing in August 2020. Interested persons are invited to subscribe to our newsletter via the website of Pro Danube International.

In order to interact more efficiently with the industry and to provide information in real time, Pro Danube International has recently launched new interactive communication channels via social media. We cordially invite you to like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram by clicking on the icons below.
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The commitment of Pro Danube International to efficiently bundle the industry's voice on the transnational level is again highlighted by its active participation at consultations held on the European level to provide input in the preparation phase of NAIADES III, while having at the same time a close eye on the developments in the framework of CEF2 and Horizon Europe.

PDI furthermore participated, as a sector representative, at the Eleventh Meeting on the Follow-up of the Joint Statement on Guiding Principles  on the Development of Inland Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Danube River Basin. Jointly organised by the International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC), the Danube Commission (DC) and the International Protection for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the event, organised online due to the COVID-19 outbreak, brought together representatives of international organisations, national and local authorities as well as the international representatives of the IWT industry to discuss and to present the current status of relevant European policy initiatives for the Danube Region and the ongoing waterway infrastructure projects that have a huge impact on the navigability of certain sections of the Danube and its navigable tributaries.

Being represented by its General Secretary, Mr. Róbert Rafael, Pro Danube International has welcomed the concrete measures already taken by waterway management organisations and encouraged them to further coordinate their works reflecting the corridor approach and to continue to involve the stakeholders of IWT in their endeavor to improve fairway conditions. Regarding fairway closures due to major infrastructure works, PDI stressed the urgent need to adjust them with the needs and requirements of the sector, encouraging dialogue and consultation with the affected stakeholders operating on the Danube. 

During this meeting, the German delegation presented a detailed step-by-step approach to improve the navigation conditions on the Straubing-Vilshofen section. Even though the presented action plan does not entirely solve the problems of this section, PDI considers that important steps forward, both in terms of planning and expected foreseen outcome on fairway conditions, have been made.
1. GRENDEL: Know-How Transfer Event successfully organised
Following the success story of the previous edition organised in March 2019, this year's Know-How Transfer Event for the Modernisation of the Danube Fleet brought together representatives of the European Commission, international organisations, IWT stakeholders, as well as innovation experts and suppliers to debate on available technologies which have the potential to pave the way towards climate neutrality by 2050, as foreseen by the European Green Deal. Innovative technologies that address the challenges set by the NRMM Regulation were among the highlights of the event. With energy efficiency and carbon neutrality having a prominent role on the European policy agenda, adapting the outdated Danube fleet to the needs and requirements of a future oriented transport system is an endeavor that must go beyond borders.

The online event, organised by GRENDEL in cooperation with INDanube and hosted by the Danube Commission, resulted in fruitful discussions and information exchanges between technology providers and IWT stakeholders. 
2. GRENDEL: Third Public Consultation successfully organised
The core objective of the third Public Consultation organised in the framework of the GRENDEL project was to discuss on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Danube IWT. The in-depth analysis provided by Mr. Herfried Leitner, Chairman of Pro Danube International, offered a sobering view on the current status of IWT.

Both passenger and cargo transportation were highly affected, with cargo not having time to fully recover after the drought of 2018. Limiting the devastating impact on the industry therefore has to be high on the agenda of decision-makers at both national and local levels. Uncertainty has to be proactively reduced by providing uniform regulations for the exchange of crew members. PDI has in this regard directly addressed the Danube Commission on behalf of the shipping industry in order to support the change of the vessel crew during the pandemic. The letter, sent in March, is available here.

Mr. Leitner furthermore stated that it is of utmost importance to keep border control locations as in regular conditions and to support an Europe-wide harmonised approach for the cruising and shipping industryIn order to overcome the devastating impact on the IWT industry, short-term and midterm measures were proposed. 

The presentation, with detailed information on the challenges faced by the sector as well as the proposed solutions to overcome them and to reduce as much as possible the harmful impact of the economic crisis that will arise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is available for download here.
3. W2GAS: Waste-to-Compost Know-How Event
The project´s aim is to investigate implementation options for a waste to biogas plant in Romania, based on innovative technologies and know-how originating from Austria. The gained data, together with the analysis of opportunities for the use of the processed products, compost and mainly the usage of biogas as fuel, will provide information on possible technology exports.
 
The event provided an intro to general findings and first results of the project, first-hand information from the Austrian Economic Chamber (WKO) in Romania, as well as insights into promising sustainable technologies from company representatives.
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4. Updates on the PhysICAL project
Representing the IWT industry in the framework of the Physical project, Pro Danube is aware of the necessity to efficiently implement physical internet into cooperative logistics. We are actively involved in all project activities, acting as a bridge between the IWT industry and the involved project partners. 

Work in the framework of PhysICAL has significantly progressed during the last couple of months. Any of you interested in the outcomes of the project, its milestones reached so far as well as the expected results and events, is kindly invited to regularly visit the project's recently launched website: https://physical-project.at/ and to subscribe to the project's newsletter here.

Together with the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Fraunhofer, 4PL Intermodal, Steiermarkbahn, Doppler, TU Graz, Schrack, Wiener Lokalbahn Cargo, Fha and others, Pro Danube is contributing to the pilot activity dealing with developing a neutral booking platform intended for the use of shippers, which is meant to facilitate the transport booking process in relation to intermodal transport. Besides obvious criteria such as costs, duration, CO2 emissions which will be taken into account, one condition which is favouring  the IWT sector is volume and weight (e.g. high and heavy cargo). At the same time, IWT can provide the suitable matching solution for an overall transport optimization (can contribute to the elimination of unnecessary waiting time and costs at warehouses while expecting the next transport connection). Consultations with sector representatives will take place in the following weeks.

We would also kindly like to invite you to follow the latest developments in the PhysICAL project on social media by clicking on the icons below:
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5. STEERER: new video message release of project's ambassador
Dr. Santiago Suarez de la Fuente is a lecturer in energy and transport at UCL Energy Institute in London and an active member of the STEERER green shipping expert group. In this video, Santiago explains why the shipping sector needs to start decarbonising now.
6. Upcoming events
7. Useful links
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Pro Danube International
Grünbergstraße 15, Stiege 1, 5th floor, 1120 Vienna, Austria
E-Mail: office@prodanube.eu

 

For questions or further information about the content of this newsletter, please contact:
Ruxandra Florescu (florescu@prodanube.eu)
Christian Stark (stark@prodanube.eu)



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Pro Danube International · Grünbergstraße 15, Stiege 1, 5th floor · Vienna 1120 · Austria

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