In accordance with the mandate given by the Ministerial Declaration of 17 October 2018 in Mannheim, the CCNR developed a roadmap aiming at largely eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants of the inland navigation sector by 2050, a long-term vision which is also shared by the European Union (EU). This energy transition must be seen as a crucial challenge for Rhine and European inland navigation. Based on today’s knowledge, while innovations to reduce emissions from existing and new vessels have increased in recent years, they tend for time being to be limited to pilot projects, which are however of utmost importance in gaining knowledge of new technologies, and addressing economic, financial, technical and regulatory obstacles to the deployment of relevant technologies.
Despite current uncertainties concerning especially the development, the cost, the level of maturity and the availability of the technologies contributing to the transition towards a zero-emission inland navigation sector, it is necessary to make an immediate start on designing an approach towards this ambitious objective that can be sustained in the medium and long-term. In this context, identifying and considering the measures enabling an accelerated transition towards zero-emissions (such as regulatory measures, monitoring of the emissions, financial support for the energy transition, …), together with the development of technology transition pathways for the fleet, are essential elements to be included when designing a realistic and sound roadmap. This roadmap shall, in this respect, be understood as the primary CCNR instrument for mitigating climate change, fostering the energy transition and contributing to the European IWT policy. It notably builds on the final results on the CCNR study on the energy transition towards a zero-emissions inland navigation sector and close consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
To ensure a common understanding between all the actors involved in the energy transition of inland navigation, it was essential to agree on a scope for this roadmap and on key definitions. In particular, it was decided to:
In particular, the roadmap aims to outline two transition pathways for the fleet (new and existing vessels). A more conservative transition pathway, based on technologies that are already mature, cost efficient in the short-term but with uncertainties on the availability on certain fuels, and a more innovative one, relying on technologies still in their infancy stage but providing more promising emission reduction potential on the long run. The transition pathways also address the role which the different technological solutions will play in the energy transition challenge, assess their suitability according to the different fleet families in Europe and the sailing profiles of the vessels. The two transition pathways are both sufficiently ambitious to achieve the objectives of the Mannheim Declaration. A key conclusion points to the absence of a “one size fits all” technology solution adapted to all types of vessels and navigation profiles. A technologically neutral approach appears therefore relevant to achieve the energy transition. Considerations regarding the financial challenge and possible no-regret investments are also included. Indeed, the financial gap to be bridged to achieve the Mannheim Declaration emission reduction objectives varies significantly from one transition pathway to another but is expected to reach several billion euros in both.
Economic, technical, social and regulatory aspects need to be considered to tackle the challenge of the energy transition towards zero emissions. How to address them through concrete policy measures was a guiding question when developing the implementation plan proposed in the roadmap, which aims at suggesting, planning and implementing measures to be adopted directly or not by the CCNR, as well as monitoring the intermediate and final objectives laid down by the Mannheim Declaration. The CCNR will undertake, to report, by 2025, on the progress in the implementation as well as the need to update and, if necessary, revise the roadmap by 2030, the roadmap and the corresponding action plan.
Eventually, the CCNR aspires to this roadmap being of assistance in developing a shared vision of the energy transition and the concomitant challenges within the inland navigation sector. It is desirable to deepen its cooperation with other energy transition actors, especially the EU, with a view to implement the proposed action plan jointly as well as to ensuring that measures are tailored to the inland navigation sector.