At a meeting of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) in Vukovar on 28 and 29 October 2014, the Priority Area 1a – inland waterways presented a Fairway Rehabilitation and Maintenance Master Plan for the Danube and its navigable tributaries which concludes that additional investments of about 85 Mio EUR would be sufficient to reach recommended levels of service, i.e. 2.50 m fairway depth at low navigable water level along the majority of Danube sections (2.0 m for the German section Straubing-Vilshofen). Additional annual operational costs would amount to about 8 Mio EUR. Compared to the magnitude of many other transport infrastructure projects, this is a rather modest sum. The riparian states are currently elaborating projects to implement the plan and also the European Union signaled to provide financial support through the connecting Europe Facility and Regional Funds.
The new master plan identifies critical maintenance locations which currently limit the navigability of the Danube and its navigable tributaries and analyses the underlying issues and the financial needs required to resolve them. The measures based on the plan will improve reliability of Danube navigation and therefore contribute to its competitiveness and its attractiveness for customers. The majority of investments are needed for dredging equipment, fairway marking and riverbed surveying. Investments are to be carried out in full compliance with EU environmental legislation, thus ensuring respect for biodiversity and integrated water management.
The Priority Area 1a (To improve mobility and multimodality: Inland waterways) of the European Strategy for the Danube Region aims to improve the conditions for inland waterway transport on the Danube and its navigable tributaries. All riparian states, the European Commission, River Commissions and transnational organisations work together to elaborate and coordinate activities in a variety of action fields. The Priority Area is coordinated by the Ministries of Transport of Austria and Romania.
More information can be found on www.danube-navigation.org.