Rhine-Alpine News


Appeal to German Federal Government to treat IWT equally

Germany has passed the “Act to Accelerate Approval Procedures in the Transport Sector” on November 24th. Part of this law grants “overriding public interest” status to 138 trunk road expansion projects and railways, requiring authorities and courts to prioritise them in the future, greatly benefiting the development of these modes of transport.
Inland Waterways do not receive any such benefits, waterway projects are the sole means of transit not recognised by the current law, even for significant developments. Only new regulations on digitalizing planning approval and authorization procedures apply to waterways.
According to the organisations who signed the position paper “Strengthen and prioritise the Rhine waterway as a sustainable mode of transport and economic factor” the federal government failed to prioritise waterways equally with rail and trunk roads, despite recommendations from most federal states in May 2023. Inland waterway transport is widely recognised as a climate-friendly method of travel and essential for the energy transition. In the Rhineland and nearby Netherlands, the Rhine waterway plays a significant economic role.
Timely completion of projects is crucial for stakeholders and the economy. The Middle Rhine bottleneck, particularly during low water phases, can restrict inland navigation between the Netherlands, Lower Rhine, and Rhine-Neckar conurbation, as seen in 2018 and 2022. The Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 prioritises eliminating bottlenecks as an urgent requirement, ranking the Middle Rhine bottleneck highest in terms of urgency among all submitted projects.

The position paper has been signed by Duisport Trimodal Logistics Hub, HGK Group, HGK Shipping, Neuss-Düsseldorf harbours, Euregio Rhine-Waal, Logistics region Rhineland, and Rhineland Metropolitan Region.
To strengthen the Rhine waterway system, boost the economy of North Rhine-Westphalian Rhineland and Euregio region, and expand the Rhine’s significance as Europe’s most important waterway, sufficient resources must be allocated.

The full original text of the position paper in German, as well as a machine-translation in English (No guarantee of correctness) can be downloaded below.


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