The project is part of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) INTERREG III B Neighbourhood Programme Measure / Priority: Measure 2.2 'Creating sustainable communication links for improved spatial integration' that belongs to one of the three different strands of the European Community Initiative INTERREG III.
The programme is part-financed from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) covering the period 2000-2006. Strand B of the INTERREG Initiative supports transnational co-operation to enhance balanced and sustainable development of the European territory. The inland waterways have a substantial potential in the Baltic Sea Region.
The volume of goods transport in the Baltic Sea Region and on inland waterways is constantly growing. Further to the growing transport volumes, the inland waterways benefit the advantage to transport cargo in an environmentally friendly way.
INTRASEA is an interregional project developing the inland waterways in the Baltic Sea region.
The INTRASEA project will be focusing on:
- Developing the EU transport policy regarding inland waterways;
- Develop tools for economical and environmental justifications for infrastructure projects;
- Developing the integration of spatial planning;
- Networking for international sub-regional/European inland waterway cooperation;
- Developing and disseminating possibilities to use inland waterways for tourism.
INTRASEA works to connect and analyse future infrastructure investments in the Inland Waterways network in the Baltic Sea Region for maximum utilisation.
The existing tourist and logistic Inland Waterways in the Baltic Sea Region will all be evaluated within the INTRASEA project. The multi and intermodal transportation chains will be evaluated to identify operational and organisational structure problems.
The potential modal shift from road to inland waterway in an environmentally friendly way is also an important task on the INTRASEA agenda. Regional development is a key word for the project INTRASEA. This concerns also the use of inland waterways by the population for recreation and tourism and how to develop this growing usage.
The way ahead will focus on the possibility to extend the project into a second phase to further investigate possibilities in the development of inland waterway shipping, concentrating in particular waterways. The project aims now to carry the INTRASEA VISION2020+ forward, using the INTRASEA Strategy set up for this fulfilment as guidance for future success.
INTRASEA is divided into 5 work packages (WP):
- WP 1 - Infrastructure and Routes: The objectives for WP 1 are to extend and develop the inland waterway database and strengthen the combined capacity of national and transnational inland waterway networks in accordance with national and EU transport infrastructure plans.
- WP 2 - Regional Intersectorial strategies: Within this WP strategies will be developed that aim to create sustainable transport systems, increased trade, regional development and tourism in the Baltic Sea region. The strategies will include aspects of industry, regional and tourist development, environmental care and relevance for spatial planning in inland waterway areas.
- WP 3 - Modal shift & river-sea transport: WP 3 will perform a study on potential modal shift towards inland navigation in the Baltic Sea Region. The study will consist of working groups focusing on utilising the transport chain in a north-south and east-west direction.
- WP 4 - Infrastructure: This WP will focus on different factors of importance for the use of inland waterway and their respective function and indicators. How investments in inland waterways infrastructure are considered in the different countries are to be studied and listed.
- WP 5 - Tourism on inland waterways: To develop and disseminate the possibility to use inland waterways for national and international recreation as well as demonstrate the accessibility to the existing inland waterways in the Baltic Sea Area.
Since the start of this project, experiences have been exchanged and formed the INTRASEA VISION 2020+, creating a network and developing a fruitful basis to further develop the inland shipping opportunities in the Baltic Sea Region. The main results of the project are:
- Identification of obstacles for the development of inland water shipping: on the one hand, insufficient water deeps, too small river dimensions and low bridges and on the other hand, lack of marketing of inlad waterway possibilities, political awareness and also insuficient cooperation between agencies involved in water transport;
- Identification of vast possibilities for inland waterway shipping provided certain actions are taken to improve the infrastructure;
- Estblishment of a number of keywords as result of the project: network, intermodality, modal shift and human resources;
- Design of the INTRASEA VISION 2020+ and development of a INTRASEA strategy to carry out the INTRASEA VISION 2020+;
- The INTRASEA database: INTRASEA project has continued with a database created in the framework of the former INLATRANS project. It contains details of all Baltic Sea Region waterways, commercial waterways as well as those for the tourist industry only and provides dimensions of locks, draught of fairways, port facilities, rules and restrictions and much more. There is also a country overview on each participating country summarizing each own current waterway situation. The INTRASEA database is open to the public and can be found at www.intrasea.org.
Key results for each theme :
The INTRASEA VISION 2020 + describes the future situation of inland waterways in the Baltic Sea Region in case a successful modal shift of goods traffic from roads to waterborne transports will take place. Inland navigation will be commonplace. Due to increased trade in this region the transport services for passengers and goods will improve and provide new areas for related businesses. The shipments will increase both in the North-South and East- West directions. So, the Baltic Sea Region will become a genuinely functional, active common market. The land and seaborne cargo-flows have gone through a remarkable change during the last ten years, not least in the Baltic Sea Region, where the quantities have doubled. The economic growth in the Baltic Sea Region will continue and transports will increase even more. The potential of waterborne transport for inland markets and linking the economic macro-regions to supplying regions has been underestimated. There are additional sustainable transport solutions in the Baltic Sea Region to explore and exploit.
The INTRASEA Vision 2020+ sets up seven areas demonstrating the expected state of art in the Baltic Sea Region by 2020 as a result of increased use of inland waterway transports, combined, or not, with other modes of transport.
- The growth of the Baltic Sea Region market has significantly increased transport volumes (passenger & goods) within the area;
- The logistical strategies of global industries have become established regionally covering the whole Baltic Sea Region without national boundaries;
- All year round short sea shipping has become the main mode of transportation in the whole Baltic Sea Region;
- Inland navigation within the Baltic Sea Region including western part of Russia is commonplace;
- Goods terminals are ports located at river/rail/road crossings;
- The road safety and environmental targets have been met thanks to increased inland waterway shipments;
- It supported logistical systems are 'waterproof'.
The project has identified obstacles for the development of inland water shipping:
- on the one hand, insufficient water deeps, too small river dimensions and low bridges and
- on the other hand, lack of marketing of inland waterways possibilities, political awareness and also insufficient coopera