Newsletter January 2021
We would like to update you on the activities carried out by our association since our last mailing in December 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 launched new interactive communication channels via social media. We cordially invite you to like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin by clicking on the icons below.
2020 will go down in history as the year that has thrown the whole transportation system into a never-before-seen level of uncertainty. The governmental restrictions introduced in response to the pandemic have caused disruptions severely affecting ports, shipping, transport, and supply chains. While the longer-term impact of the outbreak is yet to be fully understood, all economic indicators, as well as the feedback received by Pro Danube from the industry, point to significant immediate challenges for the IWT sector. Hence, the outlook for 2021 is rather sobering: both passenger and cargo transportation was heavily affected, with cargo not having enough time to fully recover after the drought of 2018. Pro Danube will continue to intensify cooperation at all levels to make sure that the Danube IWT sector will emerge stronger from the current health and subsequent economic crisis.

Representing a network of more than 150 businesses, Pro Danube has closely followed the measures introduced by the different Danube Riparian Countries, being in close contact with relevant national and European institutions as well as other branch organisations in order to provide constructive input to the ongoing solution-finding processes. The last year has shown how important solidarity, transparency, and widely harmonised actions are. With IWT having a crucial role to fulfil in the Danube Region in terms of economic and social welfare, Pro Danube proposed a set of measures to provide the businesses operating on the Danube with more certainty. Firstly, one of the most urgent problems that needed to be addressed referred to the free change of crew members on inland vessels and as such the implementation of uniform regulations. Secondly, keeping border control locations as in regular conditions is of utmost importance in securing a smooth transport flow in times of crisis. The implementation of the DAVID forms developed in the framework and cooperation of EUSDR PA1a and PA11 in several EU and non-EU countries was a vital step forward in reducing time-consuming and often costly administrative procedures. Thirdly, supporting the recovery of the sector by an EU-wide harmonised approach for the cruising and shipping industry is an essential prerequisite to provide the sector with adequate financial actions and measures that pave the way towards the adaptation to the strict environmental legislative framework adopted by the Legislative. 

In order to be fully and thoroughly informed, Pro Danube used various communication channels to reach out and engage with the industry on a regular basis. Since the early stages of the crisis, the PDI Administrative Barrier Reporting Tool (available in all languages of the Danube Region) was used as an additional instrument to collect first-hand information about the challenges faced by stakeholders in their daily activities.
But the year 2020 meant way more than the COVID-19 pandemic. Pro Danube was happy to start a new promising transnational collaboration in the framework of the DIONYSUS project. We committed ourselves to further strengthen the efficient partnership already established in previously implemented DTP projects under the leadership of PDI such as DANTE, DAPhNE and GRENDEL to actively promote IWT as a reliable alternative to other modes of transport – even in times of crisis. The year 2020 also marked the end of a successful transnational success story: the GRENDEL project. Initiated by Pro Danube International, GRENDEL was a vital step forward in providing a fruitful ground for the establishment of dedicated financial instruments that trigger investments in the Danube fleet. Another successful project which ended in 2020 was W2GAS. The project provided valuable insights into sustainable developments in the fuel sector as well into Austrian biogas technology solutions that can be applied at other locations at well.
Equally important for the IWT sector was the selection of two key transport projects FAIRway works! in the Rhine-Danube Corridor and Preparing FAIRway 2 works in the Rhine-Danube Corridor - co-financed via the Connecting Europe Facility. Both Actions are carried out following the results of the CEF funded Actions FAIRway Danube and are co-ordinated by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology with the support of viadonau as designated implementing body. For both, Pro Danube and several of its members provided letters of support and will continue to follow their implementation and provide inputs from the business perspective.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, 2021 is a year of new beginnings: we are happy to announce that starting with January we are part of two major H2020 projects: LASTING and PLATINA 3. In 2021 we also celebrate a decade of commitment to the well-being of the IWT sector: 10 years since the establishment of Pro Danube International. This milestone will be marked by a Pro Danube General Assembly foreseen to take place on 26 March with the participation of Mrs. Inés Ayala Sender, the new European Coordinator for the Rhine-Danube Core Network Corridor as of 1 January 2021.
Pro Danube is honoured to share the comprehensive report on the current status of the works performed at Gabčíkovo issued by the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic which is available for download here. The project – which is supported by Pro Danube as well – is rolled out with the co-funding of the CEF programme. Pro Danube also welcomes the continuous upgrade works at the Iron Gate locks.
1. Push4Danube: new initiative to boost the Danube IWT sector
Jointly initiated by Pro Danube International and Pro Danube Austria, the aim of Push4Danube is to bundle the investment needs of the sector in order to facilitate the adequate financing of IWT related projects. Challenged by an unprecedented crisis, the active involvement of the sector is a key prerequisite to successfully adapt the IWT industry to the latest environmental EU policy framework. Pro Danube International urges the businesses operating on the Danube to participate in the online survey using the following link.
2. LASTING: kick-off event
The LASTING Project, co-financed by Horizon 2020 of the European Commission and managed by both INEA - Innovation and Networks Executive Agency and the EC kicked-off. LASTING will broaden engagement of the broader waterborne transport sector in European RD&I activities, by developing a communication strategy, and implementing a long-lasting communication campaign beyond the lifetime of this project, ultimately increasing stakeholder engagement in the sector and thereby increasing impact of European waterborne transport RD&I. Pro Danube is part of the LASTING partnership.
3. COMPETING: Uniform European Training Record Book for Inland Shipping
The development of the new handbook is part of the pan-European project COMPETING in which fifteen organisations from eight countries prepare the introduction of competence-based education and training for European inland navigation. The mandatory internship period consists of a sailing period on board an inland vessel and extensive simulator training. The new European Training Record Book is one of the first results of the COMPETING project.
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4. STEERER: Green shipping experts begin activities for 0 emission future
The Green Shipping Expert Group (GSEG) of the EU-funded project STEERER (Structuring Towards Zero Emission Waterborne Transport) held its first workshop on Wednesday, 16 December 2020 with 50 experts representing the broader waterborne transport sector. The group including high level representatives of ports, research organizations, industrial associations, shipowners, NGO’s and administrations from across Europe has been formed this June following an open call for expressions of interest.
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