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Brussels, 30th may 2007

Commission approves Dutch aid for inland waterway transport

The European Commission authorised today a Dutch State aid which aims to encourage the development of inland waterway transport by improving the technical characteristics of inland navigation vessels. The aid has a total budget of € 0.6 million and concerns the research and the economic feasibility of the project. The Commission has found the scheme compatible with EU legislation[1].

The objective of the project is to develop an innovative, multi-purpose, lightweight, composite inland shipping vessel. The ship will be able to maintain and expand the waterways currently used by the existing fleet of ‘smaller’ conventional steel ships. This new type of ship is called "the CompoCaNord". Due to its low weight, the ship has a smaller draught, which results in higher speeds or lower fuel consumption, while it can also navigate at low water levels. The result of the research will be available to the industry in general.

European transport policy encourages the use of inland waterway and other environmentally friendly modes of transport to become competitive alternatives to road haulage. The European Commission aims at promoting and strengthening the competitive position of inland waterway transport, in particular by enhancing its integration into multi-modal supply chains through the NAIADES[2] programme.

[1] Regulation 1107/70 and Article 87(3)(b ) of the Treaty.

[2] “NAIADES” An Integrated European Action Programme for Inland Waterway Transport, COM(2006) 6 of 17.1.2006.

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