Policies for inland waterway transport: Needs and perspectives
Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) is organized in those parts of the world where a natural infrastructure, i.e. waterways, exists or canals have been built. From the economic point of view, the most important areas with such infrastructure are parts of Europe with the Rhine, Danube and their tributaries, the US with the Mississippi and the Great Lakes area, and China with the Yangtze and the Pearl. However, in order to increase its importance and share in worldwide transport flows, new markets have to be addressed by developing new waterway connections and canals, as well as through improved integration of IWT in door-to-door supply chains. This clearly puts emphasis on the importance of adequate policy approaches for the growth prospects of inland navigation. The European IWT policy framework has been developed to contribute to the general objectives of EU (European Union) policy. According to the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU strives for smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This means a resource-efficient and green economy, with a high level of employment, based on knowledge and innovation and delivering social and territorial cohesion. Obviously, any policy intended to result in sustainable economic development requires a multidisciplinary approach, covering the entire process from setting up a policy mission, focus and relevant goals, to identifying needs and perspectives. Transport activities are generally considered essential for achieving sustainable economic growth (EC, 2011). The Transport White Paper calls for the European transport system to be united, efficient and to enable the successful integration of Europe and its regions into the world economy. In that sense, Europe, through its Trans-European transport network (TEN-T1) aims for territorial cohesion of its transport system.