North Sea Port backs Flemish Green Deal Inland Shipping: transport via waterways set to become even greener

Published on Mon 26 Jun 2023
Improving the sustainability of inland shipping. That's the intention of the Flemish Green Deal Inland Shipping, which was officially launched on Friday 23 June by the Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters. North Sea Port is one of many partners shouldering the burden.

Like many other sectors, inland freight shipping faces a major challenge: sustainable transitions at the European, national and regional level, such as emission reduction, climate and air quality objectives, sustainable mobility and the modal shift to sustainable transport. To safeguard the position of inland shipping as a future-proof mode of transport, De Vlaamse Waterweg nv, the Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, North Sea Port, the Federation of Belgian Inland Navigation, Flemish Institute for Logistics (VIL) and Kenniscentrum Binnenvaart Vlaanderen launched the Flemish Green Deal Inland Shipping. 

Public-private partnership

This Green Deal is a public-private partnership between different parties each involved in water-based transport in their own way, ranging from individual barge operators and shipping companies to forwarders, terminals, knowledge institutions and government actors, financial institutions and technology companies. It is a commitment statement signed by 79 parties. The Green Deal is intended to provide certainty to Flemish entrepreneurs in inland navigation and offer guidance for short and mid-term policy.

"58% of freight transport to the hinterland goes by inland waterways already. Pretty unique.” – Daan Schalck, CEO, North Sea Port.

Daan Schalck, CEO, North Sea Port: "The Flemish Green Deal Inland Shipping fits the multimodal North Sea Port like a glove. We are located on several European transport corridors and have efficient hinterland connections by rail, inland waterway, road and pipelines in all directions. As a port authority, and together with the companies, we are committed to increasing inland waterway transport and more regular inland waterway connections. "58% of freight transport to the hinterland goes by inland waterways already. This is quite unique in Europe and all over the world.”

From engagement to result

The champions of the Green Deal Inland Shipping will involve the signatories in all kinds of consultations, working groups, surveys and pilot projects in the coming years. "This is how we, as a region, deploy our assets to face socio-environmental challenges: innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, with solutions co-produced and supported by the entire inland shipping sector," said minister Lydia Peeters. “We aim for results by 2026. Especially when it comes to basic conditions for greening in terms of financing, regulation, mind shift in the chain and technology choices. This allows us to pave the way to visible impact towards 2030 and 2050.” Effective greening must be achieved by 2050. As according to European climate targets, this is the year when the inland shipping operation has to be (nearly) emission-neutral.