• Infrastructure represents a basic need for reliable inland waterway transport. Yearly data for infrastructure maintenance, as well as infrastructure investments, are reported for Rhine and Danube countries.
• Shortfalls in data arise due to varying methodologies in data collection. For instance, whereas one source accounts for both waterside and landside infrastructural activities, other sources only consider waterside infrastructure measures.
• The data presented allow for an analysis per country but do not allow the comparison of trends in maintenance and investment spendings between different countries. For instance maintenance spending can vary greatly between countries due to the length and nature of the waterway as well as the number of constructions on this waterway.
- In order to ensure a year-round navigability, the state of the inland navigation transport network must enable efficient, reliable and safe navigation for users by ensuring minimum waterway parameters and levels of service (Good Navigation Status). To achieve this goal, IWT infrastructure needs to be constructed, maintained and upgraded through investments within a coherent corridor vision. It must also consider the growing demand for fast, reliable, high-quality, seamless movement of goods and persons. In this regard, monitoring national investments in IWT infrastructure is essential.
- Maintenance, rehabilitation and regeneration are key actions towards inland navigation reliability and performance. Any financial support ensuring more efficient maintenance, rehabilitation and regeneration activities positively impact infrastructure. However, one should bear in mind that these are long-run activities, part of an investment life cycle approach.17
- Infrastructure spending can be broken down into two main categories: investment and maintenance spending.
- Maintenance spending focuses on already existing infrastructure and its upkeep. Maintenance spending, such as that related to dredging campaigns to maintain guaranteed navigable channel depth, are however, as of today, not eligible for EU co-funding in the context of the Connecting Europe Facility II programme (CEF II). Today, it is the responsibility of Member States to maintain their inland navigation networks, core and comprehensive, which is crucial for the development of the sector. Nevertheless, it is important to note that maintenance spending can vary greatly from one country to another, depending on:
– the length of the navigable waterway,
– its nature (free-flowing or not) and,
– the number of constructions on this waterway (locks and dams generally represent the most important expenditure items).
- Investment spending embraces a new spending in new projects such as the enlargement or upgrading of waterways. In legal understanding, an investment must undergo an environmental impact assessment whereas maintenance spending is usually not tied to such legal requirements. Such investments are also eligible for co-funding at EU level, for instance via CEF II.
- Investments in port infrastructure are not within the scope of this chapter. Investments in port infrastructure are generally private investments.
SHORTCOMINGS RELATING TO DATA COLLECTION ON INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDINGS
- One might be tempted to compare data between countries, but there are some important shortcomings to be discussed to allow for reasonable conclusions. Such shortcomings arise from differing methodologies of data collection and the definitions behind these, but also in differences regarding the types of waterways present in the particular countries. For example, countries with a high share of free-flowing rivers need a higher amount of maintenance activities than countries with a lower share in this regard.
- Regarding differing methodologies, infrastructure maintenance equipment is included for one country under infrastructure maintenance spending but might not be included in another. This could also partly explain possible discrepancies that may exist between one data source and another. Due to these different methodologies and different types of waterways, it is more advantageous to shed light on the trend for each country. In addition, the differentiation between investment spending and maintenance spending is sometimes not available.
- Another important aspect lies in the competent authorities for data collection. For instance, whereas in Croatia the hydrological institute is responsible for the data collection, in most parts of the Rhine and Danube countries it is the waterway administrations that are responsible.
- Last but not least, it should be mentioned that depending on the inland water CEMT,18 class the entity responsible for managing infrastructure investment might vary, for instance, be either the national authority or the regional authorities. The infrastructure spending related to inland waterways falling under the responsibility of regional authorities, generally regional waterways of CEMT class III or below, might therefore not be reported in the national infrastructure spending data. For those countries that count numerous regional navigable waterways of CEMT class III or below, it is likely that the total amount of infrastructure spending reported in this chapter is underestimated. This would be the case in particular for the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland.
OVERVIEW PER COUNTRY
- For the Rhine countries, relevant data regarding infrastructure maintenance and investment spending can be retrieved from the International Transport Forum (ITF),19 except for the Netherlands, for which specific figures are available in a separate chapter. These data as indicated by the title provide an overview for the countries. Due to the shortcomings explained in the above section no country comparisons shall be made. It serves for a country trend analysis in the two given indicator variables.
- The ITF databases encompass both land and waterside infrastructures. Indeed, it is based on the OECD definition of inland waterway infrastructure (and related costs) which includes both landside and waterway-related components: “Infrastructure includes land, channels and permanent way constructions, buildings, navigation locks, mooring equipment, toll collection installations, as well as immovable fixtures, fittings and installations connected with them (signalisation, telecommunications, etc.) as opposed to IWT vessels”.20
- Regarding infrastructure maintenance spending data, no data for Germany are available in the ITF database. National data on maintenance spending in waterway transport do not in most cases distinguish between inland and maritime waterways, which makes an analysis quite impossible. For the river Rhine, the German Ministry of Transport reported the following maintenance spending data for the year 2021: operation and maintenance (8.79 million euro), traffic maintenance measures (14.44 million euro), operational replacement purchases (11.02 million euro). Altogether this adds up to 34.2 million euro, but personnel and material costs incurred in the Waterways and Shipping Administration are not included in this expenditure overview.
- For the Danube countries, relevant data regarding infrastructure maintenance and investment spending in general can also be retrieved from the ITF.
- In addition to the ITF data, more detailed data stemming from the FAIRway21 project are also available, covering waterside infrastructure only (no landside infrastructure). As explained before, discrepancies between the ITF data and the data stemming from the FAIRway project exist mainly because of differences in the methodology, scope and definition.
- A comparison between Table 5, which summarises the infrastructure maintenance spending for the period 2017 to 2020 for Danube countries (Source: FAIRway) and Table 3 (Source: ITF) shows that for Austria, for example, there is somehow a large discrepancy between the value reported in the two different databases. More precisely, this discrepancy lies in the definition of measures included.
- Landside investments and maintenance efforts make up the larger part of Austria’s inland waterway infrastructure expenditures.
- The FRMMP22 reporting is solely focused on waterway-related infrastructure and includes themes such as waterway dredging, fairway marking and fairway surveying. Land-side expenditures such as mooring places, tow paths, etc. are not included in the FRMMP reporting. Moreover, structural infrastructure investments are not reported in the framework of the FRMMP, as the focus is on maintenance activities only.
- This example confirms that data regarding investment spending should be interpreted with caution. It also calls for improvement in the data collection process for such investment, perhaps through the development of harmonised criteria for reporting such infrastructure spending investments at European level.
Table 5 summarises the infrastructure maintenance spending for the period 2017 to 2020 for Danube countries according to the FRMMP.
- The difference between free-flowing and not free-flowing rivers such as in the Upper Danube also contributes to the various need areas of infrastructure spending. The Iron Gates located at the Serbian/ Romanian border set the border between the downstream free-flowing part of the Danube and the upstream part which counts many locks. This difference weighs on the specific need areas described in Tables 6.1 and 6.2. Indeed, a free-flowing river requires more maintenance activities.
- Tables 6.1 and 6.2 capture the secured infrastructure investments23 in inland waterways for the period 2014 to 2020 for Danube countries. Despite possible discrepancies in the data reported for infrastructure investment between the two databases (ITF and FAIRway), the FAIRway database has the merit of providing a more detailed repartition according to need areas and allows a more complete picture of the amount of money dedicated to each need area.
- Data regarding transport infrastructure spending and maintenance in the Netherlands can be derived from the infrastructure fund.26 This fund is part of the complete national budget for the Netherlands and next to rail, road and main waterways, comprises three27 further categories. Since 2017, an increase in the overall infrastructure fund is observed. The value of the fund reached 14 billion euro in the year 2021 (Figure 1). For smaller waterways in provinces, the regional authorities are responsible for the budget allocation. Hence, they are not part of these figures.
- Figure 2 captures the infrastructure fund split into the shares dedicated to the different transport modes. The highest share of the infrastructure fund in 2021 was dedicated to rail with 65.7%.
TABLE 1: INLAND WATERWAY INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE SPENDING IN MILLION EURO
TABLE 2: INLAND WATERWAY INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT IN MILLION EURO
TABLE 3: INLAND WATERWAY INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE SPENDING IN MILLION EURO
|Republic of Moldova||0.0||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.1||n.a||n.a|
TABLE 4: INLAND WATERWAY INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT IN MILLION EURO
|Republic of Moldova||0.0||0.7||0.2||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.1||n.a||n.a||n.a|
TABLE 5: NATIONAL ACTION PLANS IN DANUBE COUNTRIES – INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE SPENDING IN MILLION EURO
|Year/ Country||2017||2018||2019||2020||Change 2019/2020||Change 2018/2017|
Source: FAIRway: National Action Plans, May 2021 Missing values are tied to no reporting by the countries.
TABLE 6.1: NATIONAL ACTION PLANS IN DANUBE COUNTRIES – INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS IN INLAND WATERWAYS 2014-2020
|Need area||Investment secured 2014-2020 (in million €)||% of EU co- financed||Investment secured 2014-2020 (in million €)||% of EU co- financed||Investment secured 2014-2020 (in million €)||% of EU co- financed||Investment secured 2014-2020 (in million €)||% of EU co- financed|
|Minimum fairway parameters (width/depth)||n.a||n.a||10.624||85.0||23.5||32.6||6.2||85.0|
|Surveying of the riverbed||n.a||n.a||3.8||85.0||0.4||85.0||1.7||59.0|
|Water level gauges||n.a||n.a||0.40||85.0||0.30||79.3||6.7||50.0|
|Marking of the fairway||1.2||20.4||4.1||85.0||3.8||85.0||8.7||85.0|
|Availability of locks/lock chambers||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a||0.2||85.0||n.a||n.a|
|Information on water levels and forecasts||n.a||n.a||0.1||85.0||0.2||85.0||0.01||85.0|
|Information on fairway depths||n.a||n.a||0.3||85.0||0.4||85.0||0.02||85.0|
|Information on marking plans||n.a||n.a||0||n.a||0.1||85.0||0.3||85.0|
Source: FAIRway: National Action Plans, May 2021
TABLE 6.2: NATIONAL ACTION PLANS IN DANUBE COUNTRIES – INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS IN INLAND WATERWAYS 2014-2020
|Need area||Investment secured 2014-2020 (in million €)||% of EU co- financed||Investment secured 2014-2020 (in million €)||% of EU co- financed||Investment secured 2014-2020 (in million €)||% of EU co- financed|
|Minimum fairway parameters (width/depth)||1.0||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a|
|Surveying of the riverbed||0.4||85.0||0.6||85.0||n.a||n.a|
|Water level gauges||0.1||85.0||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a|
|Marking of the fairway||1.1||85.0||1.4||85.0||0.7||85.0|
|Availability of locks/lock chambers||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a|
|Information on water levels and forecasts||0.2||85.0||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a|
|Information on fairway depths||0.1||0||0.02||0.0||n.a||n.a|
|Information on marking plans||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a||n.a|
Source: FAIRway, National Action Plans, May 2021
FIGURE 1: INFRASTRUCTURE FUND BROKEN DOWN BY AMOUNT DEDICATED TO DIFFERENT TRANSPORT MODES BY YEAR (ABSOLUTE VALUES)
Source: Dutch Finance Ministry
FIGURE 2: INFRASTRUCTURE FUND BROKEN DOWN BY SHARE DEDICATED TO DIFFERENT TRANSPORT MODES BY YEAR (IN %)
Source: Dutch Finance Ministry