Enhancing freight Mobility and logistics in the BSR by strengthening inland waterway and river sea transport and proMoting new internAtional shipping services

March 2016 -
February 2019


Policy area:
3. Transport 3.1 Interoperability


Transport volumes in the Baltic Sea Region are expected to grow significantly in the next decades. The project intends to focus on raising inland waterway and river-sea transport potentials.


In some BSR countries (Germany, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Lithuania) IWT has a potential to reduce these challenges. However, the IWT sector is not sufficiently developed in major parts of the BSR to handle additional transport volumes. Contrary to other regions in Europe, the characteristics of inland waterways in the BSR countries do not allow the use of standardized inland vessels like the “Europe” class vessel. Further navigation restrictions as well as weather conditions are also a burden, like ice during winter that shortens the season in which waterways are navigable. Thus, today IWT has only a small share in transport volumes within the BSR, compared to road and rail.

To overcome these obstacles and to ensure a sustainable change, the project will involve stakeholders from policies, administrations, multipliers, inland navigation shipping lines and IWT associations in its activities.

All too often BSR transport policies focus on road and rail transport. At European level IWT plays a more prominent role, but concentrates on Western and Southern Europe (Rhine, Danube), which are not representative of the BSR area. BSR policies will be addressed, aiming at higher political (and financial) support for IWT. The project will contribute to changing the mind set of transport related politics and politicians in the BSR and Europe. Regular exchange meetings will take place to inform politicians about the potentials and benefits of IWT. IWT lobby structures will be strengthened by improving cooperation on national and BSR levels. Moreover, the project aims at improving administrative structures that hinder IWT development. The media will be involved to influence the opinion on IWT.

However, the biggest challenge the project is facing is making the market more acquainted with IWT and to convince shippers and the industry that integrating IWT into their logistic concepts will be beneficial for them. To initiate a long term strategy, pilots will be used to showcase and demonstrate the potential of IWT and open up new market segments. For these pilots business plans and organizational frameworks will be prepared to prove that IWT can be a reliable and efficient transport solution also in international transport chains within the BSR.

The project will improve the competitiveness of IWT by reducing cost per transport unit. It will identify small-scale infrastructure improvements with good impact -cost ratio and will help to promote existing barge and/or (proto)types, which can operate under BSR specific navigation conditions to increase the modal share of IWT.

Highlights by mid-term:

EMMA partners have joined forces to improve the competitiveness of inland waterway transport in the Baltic Sea region by changing the mind-set of relevant stakeholders through pilot demonstrations and lobby work.

A successful container barge cruise from Gdansk to central Poland on the Vistula river paved the way for inland shipping in Poland. Politicians and industry representatives could get a picture on how barge transport on the Vistula river can work. In Sweden, a test barge container cruise from Gothenburg to Vänersborg along the Göta Canal proved the feasibility of such transport in the Gothenburg hinterland. With the help of potential customers, a business plan for establishing regular services on this route is in preparation.

Bottlenecks in inland waterway transport have been identified in the partner countries and lobby structures in the Baltic Sea region were analysed.

EMMA participated in the world’s largest transport fair, Transport Logistik, in Munich with an own booth and also organised a workshop integrated into the fairs workshop programme. Several media reported about EMMA after the fair.

Project Stories


€ 4.42
€ 3.44
Eni + Russia
€ 0.00
€ 0.00


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Project manager

Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V.

Stefan Breitenbach

494 037 709 121

Legal representative

Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V.

Ingo Egloff


Financial manager


Gunnar Platz

492 014 377 114

Communication manager


Laura Normio

+358 40 566 6532