The importance of inland navigation for Flanders' position as a logistics hub and for sustainable transportation

  • April 14, 2021

On April 7, Lydia Peeters, the Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works, delivered a keynote speech at the first stakeholder meeting of the PLATINA III project. She spoke about the importance of inland navigation as a sustainable transport mode and as a lever for economic development. PLATINA III is a multi-annual European project that brings together knowledge and expertise to make the European inland navigation sector future proof.

In her speech she emphasised the importance of inland navigation for the international position of Flanders as a logistics hub. The Flemish government wants to stimulate a well-connected logistics network in Flanders and promote optimally accessible international nodes, especially in and around the Flemish seaports. To this end, inland navigation is crucial. In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 69 million tonnes of goods were transported on Flemish waterways (barely 1.65% less than in 2019).

Modal shift

The Flemish ambition is to increase the share of the inland navigation sector in the modal split of the transport of goods to 20% (currently, this share is about 13%). To facilitate this so-called ‘modal shift’, the government wants to realize a reliable, efficient and smart waterway network with good connections to other countries.

This modal shift is not only an important policy ambition of the Flemish government, but it is also a central objective of the European Green Deal. The modal shift to rail and inland navigation must contribute to the general objective of the European Commission to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector by 90% by 2050.