INE Director-General, Karin De Schepper, said: “So-called multi-modality, where water is treated alongside rail and road as an integral element within a single transport system, has received plenty of lip service over the years. But in the past the waterways part of the mix has consistently missed out at implementation level, which has in turn led to more and more congestion on the roads.
“If the Commission is serious about integrated transport, it is essential that co-ordinators be given binding instructions to include canal and river transport. Otherwise we will simply see a repeat of the waterways being forgotten and underused, despite the economic and environmental advantages they offer, with more roads around seaports grinding to a halt.”
The proposals are part of the European Commission’s new Transport Infrastructure Package for 2014-2020. It contains new plans for trans-European network guidelines, and the Connecting Europe Facility. In the proposal, EUR31bn of EU and member state resources will go into moving both people and goods in future in as sustainable way as possible.