Waterborne transport moves nearly 90% of all international trade, more than 75% of external EU trade and 40% of internal EU trade. Oceans, seas and inland waterways are key to our climate, shape our environment, generate water and are becoming increasingly important as a source of raw materials, food and energy, as well as an essential transport route for the global and intra-continental trade flows and as places for living and recreation.
It goes without saying, that the European waterborne transport community can already deliver a substantial contribution towards societal challenges. To name a few examples:
- Although less visible, waterborne transport is essential for the functioning of modern economies. As a matter of priority for the European Green Deal, a 90% reduction in transport emissions is needed by 2050. Waterborne transport will have to contribute to the reduction. Also, a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should shift onto inland waterways to boost the efficiency of the entire transport system by multimodal transport.
- The Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy sets the following objectives for waterborne transport:
- By 2030 zero-emission vessels will become ready for the market;
- Transport by inland waterways and short sea shipping will increase by 25% by 2030 and by 50% by 2050;
- By 2030, rail and waterborne-based intermodal transport will be able to compete on an equal footing with road-only transport in the EU.
The strategic importance of waterborne transport for Europe will thereby increase significantly in the coming years!
However, due to its diversification an urgent need arises for a coordinated approach to Research, Development & Innovation (RD&I) activities by and for the European waterborne transport sector. With this new approach, the sector should be able to achieve more of the political objectives and contribute even more to developing and implementing solutions for societal challenges e.g. mitigating climate change through the transition towards zero-emission waterborne transport.
To enable this more coordinated approach, the LASTING consortium is assigned with the task of identifying information gaps concerning: 1) innovation needs, 2) awareness of outcomes and 3) opportunities for participation in European RD&I (programmes). Hence this questionnaire, the outcomes of which will be analysed and reported back to you. Furthermore, this analysis will be used as a basis for the development of an overall communication strategy for a durable, lasting impact on the participation and contribution of the European waterborne transport sector to EU RD&I activities.
Thank you for taking the time to fill in this questionnaire. Your valuable contribution is highly appreciated and will – in the end - enable the waterborne transport research community to further increase the impact of its project results.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101006923.