Newsletter October 2020
We would like to update you on the activities carried out by our association since our last mailing in September 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.

The Pro Danube Marathon Team successfully completed the Vienna Night Run 2020
Organised earlier this month by DG MOVE, European Commission, the workshop Motorways of the Sea in the Black Sea and the effective integration in the Orient-Est Med & Rhine-Danube core network corridors" brought together representatives of the European Commission and of the industry to share ideas and brainstorm on how to improve the situation of the Rhine-Danube Corridor ports in terms of their role as cornerstones in promoting regional development.

In her keynote speech, Ms. Karla Peijs, Coordinator of the Rhine-Danube Corridor, highlighted on the impact of Pro Danube International's transnational success story - the DANTE project - in identifying and tackling numerous administrative burden that ports need to overcome in order to secure a seamless transport flow. The knowledge gained in the framework of DANTE, coupled with the ongoing data collection process on encountered problems as well as examples of good practices on Danube voyages, serve as excellent starting points to propose concrete actions and measures to secure an uninterrupted and reliable transport flow on the Rhine-Danube Corridor and well beyond. 

As highlighted by Pro Danube International's General Secretary, Mr. Róbert Rafael, Danube ports have to be encouraged to speed up their development into green economic hubs in order to be effectively and enduringly integrated into the multimodal transnational transport and logistics system. Ports have to be considered as an indispensable part of the complete logistics chains, both from the seaports and the hinterland perspectives. Moreover, international cooperation is of utmost importance in further strengthening the position of ports as logistics hubs for regional development. In this sense, efficient cooperation at the regional/national level - as IGÖD (Austrian Ports) and HFIP (Hungary) - has already been established. From the transnational point of view, the Danube Ports Network (DPN) established in the framework of the DAPhNE project, will play a vital role in collecting and transferring knowledge on port strategy, infrastructure development and port digitalisation. Mr. Rafael underlined the fact that the successful cooperation between these entities resulted in the award of DIONYSUS, a recently launched DTP funded project that builds on the results achieved in the framework of DAPhNE.

Another important aspect closely linked to port development as an indispensable part of a future-oriented transport system that needs to respond to the needs and requirements of emerging markets,is digitalisation. Hence, a region-wide digital platform is envisaged, relying on a software that provides concrete service solutions in order to ease port operations. As a vital part of inland waterway infrastructure, any port digitalisation initiative must include the actual needs of the businesses high on their development agenda, in order to provide high-quality, predictable and Europe-wide harmonised services in order to secure an uninterrupted, efficient and reliable transport flow.
Fleet modernisation and technological innovation were key elements that defined the last 30 months of fruitful collaboration in the framework of the GRENDEL project. GRENDEL's final online event was attended by more than 80 European experts, ranging from European River Commissions, branch organisations and engine manufacturers, to representatives of three DGs holding keynote speeches and EUSDR PA1a coordinators.

By establishing a solid partnership under the lead of Pro Danube International, with members ranging from international organisations, national authorities and decision makers to stakeholders operating on the Danube and its navigable tributaries, GRENDEL resulted in achievements that were welcomed by both public and private entities. The project consortium came together, for one last time before the lifespan of the project ends, to present and discuss aspects related to fleet modernisation in terms of greening, efficiency and the innovative technological solutions that support this endeavor. 

It was unanimously agreed that GRENDEL was a vital step forward in providing a fruitful ground for the establishment of dedicated financial instruments that trigger investments in the fleet. In this sense, a number of Danube riparian countries already started to have discussions with regard to the implementation of a state aid scheme that would provide adequate financial incentives for the modernisation of their fleet. Particularly important in this regard is the constant support provided by the European Commission, strongly encouraging Member States to implement state aid scheme measures. This should be viewed as an encouragement for the Danube riparian countries to use the GRENDEL Model State Aid Scheme as a basis to develop investment incentives that could be financed via various types of financial resources - both national and European.

Covering the 5 most important aspects of fleet modernisation - (1) Environmental Performance, (2) Integration into Logistics Chains, (3) Increasing the Safety of IWT, (4) Renewal of Actors in the Sector and (5) Innovative Solutions - the Model State Aid Scheme was developed to serve as a guideline for Danube riparian countries to develop national state aid schemes for fleet modernisation according to their individual needs, requirements and administrative prerequisites. 

In spite of the low intake of technologies in IWT, GRENDEL provided a series of technological factsheets that propose concrete solutions to adapt the fleet to the strict environmental requirements set by the Legislator. Moreover, the active involvement of various private vessel operators and businesses operating on the Danube gave the possibility to shape the solutions proposed in the framework of the project according to their needs and requirements. The in-depth analysis of the challenges IWT is currently facing, as well as recommendations to overcome them in a well-defined and coordinated manner, will be proposed in the framework of the IWT Fleet Modernisation Strategy & Recommendations.

The presentations are available for download on GRENDEL's website here.

The final versions of both the Model State Aid Scheme for Danube IWT Fleet Modernisation and the Danube IWT Fleet Modernisation Strategy & Recommendations will be available on the project's website by the end of November 2020.  
Pro Danube is in close contact with Slovak authorities to shorten the full closure of the Gabcikovo lock to the minimum. As a first result, the full closure is reduced with 1 hour and the measures will be continuously adjusted to reduce the effects on the Danube waterborne transport. Detailed information is available here.
1. The European Commission extends the Green Lane approach
The European Commission adopted the extension of the Green Lane approach to ensure that multi-modal transport works effectively in areas including rail, waterborne freight and air cargo. Pro Danube International, together with other European branch organisations, were actively involved in the preparation phase of the extension, providing the European Commission with input based on consultations with the sector.

The Green Lane approach provides additional guidance to facilitate application in practice, on issues such as electronic documentation, availability of rest and refuelling points. Its core objective is to ensure the seamless circulation of goods and thus to secure the functioning of the Single Market. 

The link to the whole set of measures is available here.  

The Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council on upgrading the transport Green Lanes to keep the economy going during the COVID-19 pandemic resurgence, with PDI's input highlighted, is available here.
2. Intermediate results of the CCNR study on energy transition towards a zero-emission inland navigation 
As part of an overall research project, three studies are being conducted in parallel on (1) possible financial instruments for inland navigation (Study I), tendered by the CCNR and carried out by a project consortium including EICB, Rebel, Pro Danube and Panteia, (2) polluter-pays schemes and corresponding market impacts and legal aspects (Study II), tendered by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and carried out by a project consortium including EICB and Ecorys and (3) technical and economic evaluation of the technologies already available or expected to become available for the transition of the IWT sector towards a zero-emission European inland navigation (Study III), tendered by the Swiss Federal Office of Transport and carried out by DST.

Pro Danube was actively involved in the overall research and drafting process of the first study dealing with the analysis of possible financial instruments for inland navigation. 
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3. Pro Danube projects promoted in the DTP Programme Brochure
The positive impact of projects under the lead of PDI dealing with various aspects such as port and fleet modernisation have been highlighted in the recently published DTP brochure. DAPhNE and GRENDEL created networks and strategies to improve the longevity, reliability, performance and sustainability of Danube ports and vessels. 
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4. Pro Danube represented at a webinar organised by the Port of Constanta representation in Hungary
Due to the restrictions imposed by the current COVID-19 pandemic, a webinar to bring together representatives of the Port of Constanta with its Hungarian partners, was organised. The interactive meeting focused on grain traffic. Since January 2020, approximately 2.9 million tonnes were transported between the Port of Constanta and Hungary. Pro Danube International was, in its capacity as the voice of the IWT industry, represented by its General Secretary, Mr. Róbert Rafael.
5. DIONYSUS kick-off event
Continuing the good work established in the framework of the DAPhNE project, the public kick-off event of DIONYSUS was successfully organised earlier this month and was attended by numerous attendees representing international organisations, local and national authorities as well as stakeholders operating on the Danube and beyond. 

The project’s main objective is to integrate the Danube Region into smart and sustainable, multi-& intermodal transport chains of cargo and passenger flows. An essential element is the development of the Danube Region’s river and seaports into smart, sustainable and better connected multi-& intermodal logistics hubs, as well as setting priority locations for industrial investment through EU funding & financing instruments.

Port investment needs, access infrastructure and transport connections (rail, road & maritime) to port hinterlands will be aligned with transport infrastructure and regional development plans. This shall facilitate political, administrative actions, thus enabling infrastructure investment based on dedicated Market Analyses. Moreover, DIONYSUS goes further than port infrastructure needs and identifies gaps in the integration of the Danube corridor network planning (Rhine-Danube corridor) with other transport corridors benefiting the region. It shall support the integration of the Danube corridor with the European Neighbourhood Transport Networks through targeted promotion activities.

Analyses and Studies for areas impacting multi- & intermodal freight and passenger transport chains will result in Recommendations (at National level) and consolidated Strategies & Action Plans (at Regional level). Specific Tools and Learning Interactions will be defined and applied to support the port sector and dedicated policies formulation, thus contributing towards better framework conditions for port investment. The digitalisation trend in the logistics and transport sector and the resulting challenges for the ports will be addressed through Port Digitalisation Strategy & Action Plan. Also, Port Development Plans will be elaborated for selected Danube ports to prepare infrastructure projects for their implementation under the Connecting Europe Facility II (CEF II) & National Operational Sectoral Programmes.
6. Smart Shipping Hackathon

Are you able to unlock the potential of Smart Shipping?

Within Flanders there is around 1000 km of navigable inland waterways on which more than 70 million ton is transported every year. Although this already gets a lot of trucks of the road, there is still a lot of capacity available that is underused which could improve the mobility and ecological transport issues in Flanders. One of the innovations that could realise this potential is Smart Shipping.

Read More
7. Customer Satisfaction Survey Waterway & Locks 2020
In order to improve the services of viadonau on the Austrian waterway and locks, it would be highly appreciated if you could provide your feedback in viadonau's recently launched customer survey. It will take just a few minutes to complete. You can choose the preferred language at the beginning of the survey (German/English). Your responses will be treated absolutely anonymous. The survey will be open until 31 December 2020 here.
8. Upcoming events
9. Useful links
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