German steel industry welcomes rehabilitation offensive on national waterways
by David Fleschen
With the aim of strengthening inland navigation, Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer has presented a "Master Plan for Inland Navigation". The steel industry in Germany welcomes the plan: "It is a real step for the Federal Government to focus on strengthening the transport of inland waterway vessels," emphasizes Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl. Around a fifth of the transport volumes on the waterways in Germany are transported to the steel industry.
The exceptionally low water of 2018, which hit the steel industry hard, has shown to what extent the industry depends on functioning waterways. The Rhine in particular has to be secured as a reliably usable waterway due to its outstanding importance. In particular, the planned unloading optimization on the Central and Lower Rhine must be implemented quickly. "It is also important to get the remediation of the waterways, which was announced in the master plan, under way quickly in order to reduce the high pent-up demand," Kerkhoff continues.
The Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl also strongly welcomes the already implemented abolition of the driving charges on the German inland waterways. In combination with the significant reduction of train path costs by rail, the competitiveness of sustainable modes of transport is significantly increased. The exception is still the busy Moselle, which is subject to an international legal framework. It is positive that talks are already underway on this; shipping taxes must also be canceled there as soon as possible.
Source: Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl, Photo: Fotolia