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Upgrading of Inland Waterway and Sea Ports

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Infrastructure Node
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport sectors
Freight transport



The central Europe area disposes of extensive inland waterways which in all cases underperform in terms of utilisation of their capacities for freight transport and the transport performance of these waterways is usually very low.

Major reason for the unsatisfactory role inland navigation plays in coping with the ever growing freight volumes in central Europe is the lack of functional integration of the ports with their potential hinterland as well as with other ports. Also function of tri-modal transport infrastructures is rather limited.

Main aim of INWAPO project is to activate this unexploited potential of waterborne transport in central Europe and also the role of the river and sea ports to achieve better inter-modality of inland and sea ports.

To do so the project will focus on 3 main systems of waterways:

  • The Northern Adriatic ports (Venice, Trieste and Koper).
  • The Danube river ports (Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Komarno and Sturovo).
  • The Czech and Polish inland waterways (Elbe, Vistula and Oder systems), with an extension towards Baltic ports.


Parent Programmes
Other Programme
2007 - 2013 Central Europe


There is a significant demand for sea and river freight transport services in Central Europe. The potential waterborne transport generated by the hinterlands clearly shows concrete opportunities in terms of port capacity and demand for new freight transport services. INWAPO investigated 3 main waterways systems: Northen Adriatic Ports, Danube Ports and Elbe-Oder-Wisla Ports.

The research produced 12 studies setting up an updated picture of the potential market of waterways services and infrastructures in Central Europe. Being all the surveys market based, they were implemented with the direct involvement of logistics operators and clients. The results are going to be presented not only to the Port communities involved, but also to most of the companies that represent the potential market of the waterways investigated. Starting from a comprehensive knowledge management analysis, INWAPO then defined a common set of indicators for inland and sea ports benchmark, as to assess the needs of the involved ports in terms of infrastructures and links/services to improve tri-modality. The definition of common benchmarks will allow to make proposals to logistics operators in terms of investment plans. Relevant inputs for the definition of benchmarks for tri-modality were given by the river port visit that took place on 30th October 2013 in Duisport, that was participated by Mr. Bernhard Hintzen, representative of the Ministry of Regional Development and Transport of Magdeburg.

Besides the definition of the waterborne potential, INWAPO is leading 2 concrete activities supporting the replacement of waterborne transport to mitigate the environmental impact of transport as a whole: an environmental analysis showing how to mitigate the impact of increased transport volumes and a definition of one set of environmental sustainability benchmark, as to integrate environmental assessment in partner-ports investments plans.

In November 2013 INWAPO was presented at the EU Parliament. The event was promoted by the Polish Regions of Pomorskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie and Mazovia to start a dialogue on the revitalization of European inland waterways. The core issue of the event was strictly connected with the White Paper on Single European Transport Area, placing significant emphasis on the role of inland water connections for an intermodal transport system in Europe. During the Seminar a relevant principle was shared: projects as INWAPO give clear support also to the implementation of concrete infrastructures and new services/routes along the axis BAC Baltic Adriatic Corridor.

The project also took part to the National Conference on Sustainable Transport and Demographic Change promoted by the Central Europe Programme Italian National Contact Point.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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