Current missions of the CCNR

Resolution 2001-I-3 34 KB 36 KB 32 KB


The legal basis for the work of the CCNR is the Revised Convention for Rhine navigation. The interpretation and implementation of the Convention in the course of more than 100 years have made it possible to lay down the system of regulations for Rhine navigation. To describe the objectives of the Central Commission means to ensure that these main principles continue to be relevant and up to date.

Main principles

  • Freedom of navigation

    The principle requires that any current or future obstructions to navigation be avoided or at least be limited as far as possible; these include:

    • physical obstructions caused by the condition or the availability of the waterway and its engineering structures;
    • administrative, tax, customs or economic obstructions caused in particular by levying inadmissible duties based solely on navigation;
    • legal or regulatory obstructions resulting in restriction of waterway use which are not justified by the Revised Convention on Navigation on the Rhine.
  • Unified system of regulation for Rhine Navigation and equal treatment

    These principles, recognised by the Congress of Vienna and the Mannheim Convention, require that uniform regulations apply for all those participating in Rhine navigation and for all national sections of the river (with the exception of special navigational authority regulations necessary due to the special characteristics of certain sections of the waterway).

    To ensure that these regulations are continuously updated and that the policy of the various riparian states is coordinated, within the framework of the CCNR a common administration for Rhine navigation has been established. This legislative competence (which is constitutive and applies to regulations) guarantees harmonised and even unified technical and legal requirements for navigation and directly related activities.

    These principles as well as the specific measures derived from them, which for a long time were considered unique and pioneering, are destined to be applied to the entire European system of inland navigation.

    The unified Rhine navigation market thus forms the core of a much vaster entity, a large unified inland navigation market, which is foremost a Community market and secondly a European market in the broad sense.

Core objectives:

These principles provide the framework for the two central and permanent objectives of the CCNR as set forth in Article 45 of the Convention of Mannheim, which defines the powers of the CCNR:


Prosperity of Rhine and European inland navigation

The CCNR sees its task foremost in promoting the development of inland navigation, primarily on the Rhine but also on all waterways in Europe. This concern takes three forms:

Ensuring an appropriate economic framework

It is not the role of the CCNR to intervene directly in economic mechanisms but instead to contribute toward providing those participating in the economy with the most favourable overall conditions for developing their economic activities. The Commission considers the following aspects in this regard:

  • Activities to ensure fair conditions for competition.
    To this end, the Commission can carry out or propose investigations for the purpose of comparing the national situations with respect to their policy for promoting navigation or their financial burdens, with the goal of clarification and reciprocal information.
  • Market observation and accompanying development of instruments for monitoring, in cooperation with the European Commission, the economic situation of inland navigation activity (improved statistical tools, keeping track of fleets, studies etc.).
  • Coordination of those participating in inland navigation

The CCNR is obliged to promote meetings and discussion among the various bodies or professions participating in Rhine navigation. In this regard it is advisable to extend the relations to include all activities of the professions concerned.

  • Promotion of an improved waterway infrastructure towards the goal of optimised use; in addition to actual construction works, this includes development of a telematic system.
  • Consideration of new economic and technological contexts in the ongoing adaptation of the requirements applying to navigation.
  • Initiatives for further developing the shipping industry professions, particularly with regard to working conditions, training and recruitment, with a view to modernising the fleet.
  • Support initiatives aimed at opening new markets or permitting new forms of activity (in particular through adaptation of the regulatory framework).

Competitiveness of the waterway

The CCNR supports activities in various areas aimed at reinforcing the position of Rhine and European navigation in the face of competing modes of transport.

  • Contributing towards improving the brand image and the awareness of river transport through its information policy, through associating with initiatives introduced at the industry or national level, organisation of discussion meetings and other information events.
  • Carrying out prospective analyses of technological, economic or social trends with a view to anticipating and preparing corresponding changes in river transport.
  • Supervision of improvements in the reliability and availability of the waterway while fully taking into consideration its various functions.
  • Participation in evaluating the competitive relationship between the waterway and other modes of transport.
  • Assistance towards enhanced integration of river transport in combined transport, specifically by ensuring adaptation of shore facilities and by supporting measures for improved loading and unloading conditions (trimodal terminals etc.).

Integration of Rhine navigation in the European river transport system

The CCNR has a twofold mission:

  • Administration of the Rhine system of regulation
  • but also to promote inland navigation and facilitate integration in the European transport system.

    Harmonisation of legal regulations
    The CCNR intends to continue playing the role of a driver in the process leading to harmonisation of legal regulations and norms for inland navigation at the European or pan European level.

    Monitoring of market liberalisation
    The CCNR has the obligation of preparing for a process of market opening, with the goal of creating an integrated river transport market which includes the Central and Eastern European countries.

    Cooperating with other international institutions active in the area of inland navigation

    The CCNR will rely on a longstanding practice of cooperation with the entirety of governmental and non-governmental organisations active in the area of inland navigation in Europe.

    The Central Commission will be particularly attentive to appropriate opportunities for working more closely with the European Union and the Danube Commission.

    The CCNR will intensify ties with organisations such as the UN/ECE, ICPR and ECMT, with a view to ensuring that activities by the various organisations are coherent and complementary while respecting their individual features. Any cases involving conflicts of competence or redundant efforts should be resolved. The CCNR will aim to promote towards other institutions the solutions adopted at the Rhine level.



The safety of persons and goods in navigation activities is a longstanding concern which, however, requires ongoing adaptation of standards. The concern with ensuring the safety and the integrity of the environment as well is assuming growing importance.

Navigation safety in the narrow sense

This is a traditional objective of the CCNR, and the Commission’s efforts in achieving it are generally recognised. The CCNR intends to preserve its leading role in this area even though certain regulations are destined to be revised within a broader framework.

  • Revision and continuous adaptation of safety standards
  • Harmonisation and continued development of the training system – definition of crew composition in consideration of safety issues.
  • Development of the system of regulations
  • Integration of certification procedures in the CCNR’s navigation safety policy

Promotion of the environmental soundness of Rhine navigation

The safety of the environment is assuming growing importance for the CCNR as well as for inland navigation in general. The latter needs to stay in harmony with its brand image as an ecological means of transport. In view of the rapid progress made in this area by other modes of transport (especially by road transport) and of the very long service life of vessels, it is important to introduce the necessary changes in a timely manner.

  • Contribution towards studies of the potential interactions between navigation and the environment, with the aim of defining measures required from the perspective of the impact of navigation on the fluvial environment (water, banks, flora and fauna).
  • Treatment of wastes and cargo residues in liquid and gaseous form.
  • Reduction of all types of pollutant emissions.
  • Contribution towards environmental protection with respect to the ship-shore interface, in particular by making available the shore facilities which are essential in order for the preventive measures applicable to ships to be effective, with the aim of ensuring elimination of wastes or the prevention of pollutant emissions resulting from inland navigation.
  • Development of the regulatory framework with the aim of environmental protection


Basel Declaration

  • Declaration of the Ministers of the Member States of the Central Commission for Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) - Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands and Switzerland 15 KB 16 KB 14 KB 13 KB

Mannheim Declaration

  • 150 years of the Mannheim Act – The driving force behind dynamic inland navigation, 17 October 2018 42 KB 44 KB 49 KB 44 KB
  • Report on progress, 6 December 2023 115 KB 116 KB 111 KB 110 KB 1316 KB

Strategy for the CCNR

  • Strategy for the CCNR 2696 KB 2696 KB 2695 KB 2693 KB