The European Commission gave the green light to a French aid scheme for European inland waterway transport. The scheme, which has an overall budget of €16.5 million and will run from 2008 to 2012, is designed to boost inland waterway transport in by modernising the fleet and promoting the occupation of inland waterway carrier.
The new scheme proposed by the French authorities follows on from the inland waterway scheme for the period 2004-07. It includes aid designed to ensure a better response to current market conditions.
Aid will be allocated for environmental measures, fleet modernisation, improved safety and the commissioning of vessels which can also call at sea ports. The scheme is also designed to promote and revive the occupation of inland waterway carrier and to facilitate investment in new information and communication technologies.
Part of the aid is aimed at modernising the fleet and improving its capacity for carrying specific goods in order to meet the needs of shipping agents and industry, while at the same time enhancing its environmental credentials. Improving the technical features of vessels will thus help save energy and reduce pollution.