PLATINA3 a coordination and support action funded under Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission, addressing policy topics in inland waterway transport
Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) brings major benefits for society because it is safe, efficient, has high energy efficiency and has underused capacity on waterways. As a result of these opportunities, EU policy promotes the use of Inland Waterway Transport with the NAIADES III Action Plan.
The potential for growth is significant but there is also work to be done. IWT needs to reduce their climate change (CO2) and air pollutant emissions (NOx, PM) and needs to benefit from digitalisation and automation. Furthermore, barriers for shifting cargo and passenger transports from road to inland waterways need to be removed to unlock the benefits from modal shift. At the same time the climate change causes increasing challenges for inland waterway transport as result of increasing low water situations and floods. Therefore attention is needed on solutions to deal with these increasing extreme weather conditions caused by global warming.
European funded project PLATINA3 provides targeted coordination and support activities to promote Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) in Europe. Duration is January 2021 until June 2023. PLATINA3 aims primarily on policy makers and makes the bridge towards future research, innovation and implementation needs within IWT in Europe. A key objective is providing the knowledge base for the implementation of the EU Green Deal in view of further development of EC`s IWT action programme (NAIADES III) towards 2030. PLATINA3 addresses priority topics:
1) integration & digitalisation of IWT in view of modal shift & synchromodality
2) zero- emission, automated & climate resilient fleet
3) skilled workforce anticipating to zero-emission & automation
4) smart & climate resilient waterway and port infrastructure with clean energy hubs.
Within PLATINA3, there are themes “Market”, “Fleet”, “Jobs & Skills” and “Infrastructure”:
- The theme “Market” does address the question on how to shift more transport from road to the inland waterways? Research and discussions took place looking at different elements which affect the options for modal shift. This concerns a.o. load units for cargo and transhipment as well as awareness among shippers, the digital integration in supply chains and the economic barriers. Between July 2022 and March 2023 deliverables will be completed, including the report on policy recommendations based on the research and discussions which took place.
- The theme "Fleet" does address the questions how to develop a fleet which performs at low/zero-emission, can cope with extreme water levels and what is needed in terms of financial support and technical regulations? A report was made about the options for vessels to better deal with the low water conditions, with specific examples. Furthermore an extensive analysis was made on the status of financial instruments, the required funding support and next steps needed to provide a proper framework for financing the deployment of clean technologies and fuels. Also a report was made on options for labelling or indexing vessels to express their environmental performance, including clear recommendations for next step. Moreover, a report was made on the vessel databases and how te improve them by linking existing databases and adding new attributes to vessel identification. Between July 2022 and March 2023 additional deliverables will be completed, including the report on technical regulations for zero-emission and the report on the recommended research agenda.
- The theme “Jobs and Skills” is focusing on the labour side of IWT and specifically on the competences for staff to work with automated vessels and to work with new technologies and fuels in view of the energy transition of IWT. First draft reports have been made on the required competences and discussions took place at PLATINA3 Stage events. Between July 2022 and March 2023 the reports will be completed and discussions will take place with CESNI for the implementation of the recommendations regarding the required (new) competences.
- The theme “Infrastructure” is focussing on the IWT infrastructure. The deliverable which deals with the climate adaptation strategy is finalised while big steps were made on topics alternative fuels/energy infrastructure for IWT and the role of digitalisation in waterway management and communication. Between July 2022 and March 2023 the reports will be completed as well as the report on barriers for infrastructure development and the policy recommendations.
Moreover, the activity “Roadmap and stakeholder engagement” is where the results from themes Market, Fleet, Jobs & Skills, Infrastructure come together and where stakeholder engagement is organised. As part of this activity, 4 Stage Events were organised already in the first project period (Jan 2021 - June 2022) where presentations and discussions took place. All presentations and minutes and video registrations of the Stage Event discussions on the theme of 'infrastructure' are made available on www.platina3.eu .
Furthermore, a fruitful cooperation is established with the NAIADES III Implementation Expert group to monitor the implementation of the 35 actions from the NAIADES III Action plan. For each meeting of the Expert Group the roadmap report is being updated and presented and discussed at the meeting, while raising attention for risks or gaps in terms of the implementation progress. Moreover, an extensive group of stakeholders and related EU projects (e.g. H2020, CEF projects) have been contacted and engaged in the PLATINA3 community as well as a Advisory Board to provide technical inputs and feedback.
The Project management & dissemination went fine, resulting in manuals for the PLATINA3 partners, clear guidelines, document sharing platforms and a well functioning website and LinkedIn channel for external communication and dissemination.
Clearly the related reports provide new insights and contribute to making IWT more competitive, robust and attractive in view of the modal shift ambitions as well as detailed next steps needed to bring IWT on the right path of decarbonisation and elimination of air pollutant emissions. Moreover, by means of the project and the Stage Events, the European IWT policy community and know-how exchange is strengthened, which is crucial seen the need for cross-border cooperation between countries along the TEN-T inland waterway network.
PLATINA3 therefore helps policy makers in making decisions, helping industry with new expert knowledge and insights. And PLATINA3 brings together all relevant parties and facilitate networking and contact amongst stakeholders. By contributing to the implementation of the NAIADES 3 Action Plan, PLATINA3 will indirectly contribute to a sustainable, environment friendly, efficient and safe European IWT sector which will have positive societal and economic impacts.