The future of waterborne transport is carbon-neutral, zero-accidents, automated and competitive

Council Conclusions on “EU Waterborne Transport Sector – Future Outlook”
Brussels, 06 June 2020

The Waterborne Technology Platform welcomes the Council Conclusions entitled “EU Waterborne Transport Sector – Future outlook: Towards a carbon-neutral, zero accidents, automated and competitive EU Waterborne Transport Sector”, approved by the Council on 5 June 2020. These conclusions are politically very relevant as they clearly indicate the views from EU Member States towards the European Commission (policies) on the future of waterborne transport. The conclusions underline the strategic importance of the European waterborne transport sector, and the need for enhanced Research, Development and Innovation to achieve the objectives laid down in the Council Conclusions.

The Strategic Research Agenda of the Waterborne Technology Platform, launched in January 2019, offers the basis to achieve the objectives envisaged in the Council Conclusions. Firstly, this agenda highlights the need to transform waterborne transport into a zero-emission mode of transport. Secondly, it emphasizes the potential of digitalisation for waterborne transport. Thirdly, it aims at achieving zero-accidents and zero-loss of life. Finally, as the Council Conclusions, the Strategic Research Agenda of the Waterborne Technology Platform also pays attention to the competitiveness of Europe’s waterborne transport sector, including in the context of future policy making.

In a first reaction, the Chairman of the Waterborne Technology Platform, Henk Prins, said “The Council Conclusions acknowledge the relevance of the Strategic Research Agenda of the Waterborne Technology Platform by aligning its own objectives with those laid down in the agenda of the Waterborne Technology Platform. But I am particularly pleased to note the Council’s specific support for the candidate co-programmed Partnership Zero-emission Waterborne Transport in the framework of Horizon Europe. This is an important political signal that research, development and innovation from the waterborne transport sector really matters and will be a cornerstone for achieving the objectives of the European Commission, in particular of the European Green Deal. Europe’s waterborne transport sector has all the tools and expertise to deliver the technologies and solutions needed to achieve all the objectives put forward by the Council. With supporting policies, the waterborne sector will at the same time also be able to boost its (global) competitiveness”.

WATERBORNE TP WATERBORNE TP has been set up as an industry-oriented Technology Platform to establish a continuous dialogue between all waterborne stakeholders, such as classification societies, shipbuilders, shipowners, maritime equipment manufacturers, infrastructure and service providers, universities or research institutes, and with the EU Institutions, including Member States ( The members of waterborne TP comprise members as well as associated members from both maritime and inland navigation countries, representing about 17 Member States. In addition, the Associations member of the Waterborne Technology Platform represent the broader waterborne sector throughout the entire EU.

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Jaap Gebraad, executive director,
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