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Evaluation of the Danube Waterway as a key European Transport Resource

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Infrastructure (INF)
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The Danube river has been one of Europe's most important waterways for several centuries, and has seen the connection to Central and Western European waterways via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in the early 1990's. Nevertheless, transport volume on the Danube has fallen dramatically behind those of competing road and rail networks. This has been mainly triggered by political reasons, in particular the crisis and war in former Yugoslavia, and some technological and organisational issues.


EUDET aimed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the Danube waterway by identifying preconditions and measures that will turn the Danube into a key transport infrastructure for East-West European transport flows on the South-East axis.

The main objectives of EUDET have been:

  • to examine existing conditions of inland navigation on the Danube;
  • to identify the main physical, commercial, organisational and infrastructure bottlenecks;
  • to identify interoperability requirements with related waterway systems;
  • to outline intermodality requirements in order to integrate inland navigation into combined transport chains;
  • to evaluate existing and future market potentials for inland navigation in the corridor through detailed freight analyses and forecasts for the year 2010;
  • to develop concepts and strategies to maximise the use of the waterways;
  • to evaluate the economic and environmental impact of the proposed measures; and
  • to provide comprehensive recommendations for the development of inland navigation in the corridor and for supporting policies.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


EUDET has:

  • performed an in-depth analysis of existing waterway infrastructure on the Danube river and adjacent canals, with respect to
    • navigable conditions per river/canal section,
    • transport capacity per section, depending on waterway width and depth, the capacity of locks, and headroom below bridges,
    • existing ports, their facilities, typical goods and capacities;
  • analysed inland ship fleets - i.e. fleet structures and their capacity - per country, design aspects in ship and transhipment technology, existing shipyards, and infrastructure bottlenecks related to the interaction of ports and current fleets;
  • has analysed the prevailing transport market conditions in the Danube corridor, e.g.
    • recent economic developments in bordering States,
    • the current structure of transport markets per country,
    • the inland navigation market compared to the rail sector,
    • Danube river to sea connections, especially to North Sea and Mediterranean sea ports, with a focus on multi-modal services;
  • performed an analysis of trade and transport flows in the Danube region;
  • forecast future trade flows based on scenarios developed for the Danube corridor;
  • analysed and modelled potential transport volume and summarised the waterway's potential on a per country basis; and
  • elaborated recommendations for initiatives aimed at improving the Danube's competitiveness, by identifying needs for investment and schemes for market restructuring.

Policy implications

Currently there is an important opportunity to create a powerful inland waterway backbone along the Danube river, as long as road and rail networks in South-Eastern Europe have not reached western standards. This would require a single regulatory framework for EU countries, accession countries and countries such as the Ukraine. A logical next step would be the promotion of transnational infrastructure and fleet investments to cope with the forecast growth in transport on the Danube. Finally, new organisational structures and logistics concepts are needed to close perceived entrepreneurial gaps.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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