Reference Actions of the EUSDR Action Plan
(European Commission’s Document SEC(2010) 1489, December 2010):


“To modernize the Danube Fleet in order to improve environmental and economic performance”


Inland waterway transport has been the most environmentally friendly mode of inland transport for decades. However, this advantage has steadily been eroding due to the rapid improvement of emission levels in other transport modes. The long lifetime of inland barge engines – 15 to 20 years, whereas road vehicles are replaced after 5 to 10 years – results in a slow uptake of new engines in the fleet. Retrofitting the existing vessels causes significant additional investment costs for the vessel owner/operator and the relatively small and specific market for inland vessels causes disadvantages of scale. Engine manufacturers prefer to concentrate their research and development activities on larger and potentially more profitable markets and need to take foreign standards into account.


The Working Group therefore supports the joint development and co-operation in the field of innovation and consequently the building up of buying power for specific and cutting edge applications specifically developed for inland navigation.


In order to gather the necessary knowledge to stimulate the modernisation of the Danube fleet, a specific research and development project, the “Innovative Danube Vessel”, was launched within the framework of PA1a in 2012 and finalised a year later. The study, a flagship project of PA1a, aimed to identify both designs for newly built vessels and solutions that can be applied to existing ships. Key results are being taken up by other research projects (see below).


(c) viadonau / Andi Bruckner


  • GRENDEL – Green and efficient Danube fleet
  • PlasticFreeDanube – Macro plastic waste in and along the Danube
  • National funding schemes:
    An overview of current funding programmes is provided in the European funding database, developed in the PLATINA II project and maintained by EIBIP (European Inland Barging Innovation Platform).