The CCNR strives to make a contribution to the economic prosperity of Rhine shipping. Thus it has always been eager to be involved in the economic plan for transport on the Rhine. This role has been manifested in many different ways over the years. In the 19th century, for instance, the CCNR took action in favour of the reduction and subsequent elimination of tolls, fees and other charges for Rhine shipping, eventually laid down in the Mannheim Convention of 17 October 1868 (Article 3). At the end of the 19th century and during the first half of the 20th century, the CCNR also brought its influence to bear on adjustments to customs duties.
In the 1950s and 1960s it acted as a medium for the organisation of economic conferences seeking to solve the difficulties experienced by the sector at the time. It also played a key role in maintaining contractual cargo freedoms along the River Rhine when the prevailing tendency was to control prices established at national level. At the end of the 1960s the CCNR joined forces with the European Commission reflecting upon and finalising a project (which was eventually not carried through) to immobilise the fleet on a temporary basis.
The CCNR's annual reports prior to the year 2000 featured quantitative indications as to the number of vessels in the fleet plying the Rhine, the quantities transported, activities at the main ports etc. (for a historical illustration, see the statistics in the CCNR's 1836 report).
More recently the CCNR has worked alongside the European Commission to implement the EU's scrapping policy.
Within the current prevailing context of market freedom, the CCNR's economic role has undertaken slightly more indirect formats: it manifests itself by conducting economic surveys and arranging economic conferences and round tables on matters of economic importance (the fleet's progress towards double-hull systems, the effects of climate change, etc.). To this end the CCNR has an economic committee.
The task of the Economic Committee is to monitor trends in the transport market in general and in terms of inland shipping in particular, focusing on the contributions to be made to promote waterborne transport. The task includes, among other concerns, economic analyses and inventories of the market, contributions to the policy of promoting waterborne transport and the assessment of general political measures that could concern this mode of transport and its market. Market observation is an essential instrument for this task.
To draw up statistics on Rhine shipping and inland shipping, the Committee is assisted by a "Statistical information" working group (ECO/G) comprising experts in statistics from the Member States. The statistical approach has been compelled to adapt to the available sources. The creation of a European inland shipping market has meant that pure "River Rhine" statistics have simultaneously become a more delicate and less significant issue (see Rhine statistics 1998-2002).
In order to fulfil its mission the Committee works closely alongside the profession. It should be borne in mind that the vast majority of CCNR representations have appointed commissioners from river navigation circles. In a bid to facilitate exchanges with all the economic players, the Committee regularly arranges forums, round tables and thematic meetings. Documentation concerning these encounters is available on the web site.
Committee Chairman: Mr. van den BORRE, Commissioner for Belgian
Secretariat: Mr. LEGEAY