Seminar 2005 - Harmonisation of job descriptions and
professional knowledge in inland waterway transport in Europe
Rotterdam, 9. November 2005 (9-12.30) Shipping and Transport College

I. Job descriptions in inland waterway transport in Europe

In its opinion on "Towards a Pan-European System of Inmand Waterway Transport" (doc.TEN/135), the European Community's Economic and Social Committee draws attentions to the need for greater harmonisation of the definitions of functions on board boats, thereby allowing a better correlation of the pool of qualified personnel available in Europe with the needs of the inland waterway transport sector.

On the basis of this recommendation, the EBU has proposed that the river commissions make a start by drawing up a working document on job descriptions for the key functions on board inland waterway transport boats, ie boatmaster and boatman.

The Central Commission has welcomed the proposal. The appropriate Committee (the Committee on Social Matters, Employment and Vocational Training) has undertaken to prepare this working document.

An initial inventory of job descriptions used within its member States has pointed to a global concordance that needs to be supplemented by the specific features of the job descriptions used in the States on the Danube and the other European States with an active inland waterway transport sector. In this way, these descriptions could be used as a common reference for courses at educational and training establishments.

In addition, the professional organisations in the Netherlands have carried out comparative work on the job descriptions used in the CCNR's member States with a view to drawing up an initial common outline.

The seminar will aim to present all this work and provide the occasion for an informal discussion among all the experts and other interested parties so that it will be possible to determine together how it should be followed up. Follow-up could take the form of a round-table discussion on the subject in 2006.

II. Sector knowledge for inland waterway transport on major rivers

The regulations concerning the boatman's licence are the focal point of the initiatives aimed at greater harmonisation in the inland waterways transport sector. The Central Commission and the Danube Commission have identified this area as having priority in their efforts in the matter.

A joint ad hoc working party has undertaken to draw up common rules on a key element in the regulations, namely the sector knowledge required for navigation on the Rhine and on the Danube, with a view to making this part of the regulations more transparent and comparable for the two rivers, thereby facilitating access for crew members on both rivers to the respective certificates and licences.

At the same time, the application of these demands and the methods for examining the required knowledge should be brought up to date in order to rationalise and simplify the procedures.

At the seminar, there will be a presentation of the approach adopted by the two river commissions in their cooperation on this matter for the information of both professionals and government experts, and an initial discussion on the principles and implementation to be provided for subsequently.

Job descriptions in inland waterway transport in Europe
Claire FRELING, ISEO Consult