Waterways typically have economic benefits, high reserves of capacity and a low environmental impact. The population accepts inland waterway transport because it produces relatively little pollution, does not have divisive effects (routes which "split" the landscape) and requires very little extra space – for port infrastructure, for example.
Austria is situated on a waterway which links the river systems of the Rhine and Danube via the Main-Danube Canal and extends from the North Sea to the Black Sea.
The National Action Plan for Inland Waterways (NAP) is a reflection of the important place that inland waterways occupy in transport, and it was chosen as a focal theme for Austria's Presidency of the European Union (EU) Council in the first half of 2006.
The Barcelona Declaration of 1921 recognises the right to a flag of states which have no sea coast. Some ten vessels sail under the Austrian flag, chiefly in European waters.
The National Action Plan for Danube Navigation (NAP) is a reflection of the important place that inland waterways occupy in transport, and it was chosen as a focal theme for Austria's Presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2006.
The NAP is a dynamic instrument of Austrian shipping policy. Central to it is a catalogue of measures drawn up in 2005 in close cooperation with all relevant players in the sector.
Inland waterway transport is gaining in importance at European level too: in January 2006 the European Commission unveiled an action programme to promote inland waterway transport in Europe (NAIADES). The NAP embodies the national strategy for implementing this European action programme and sets the direction of Austria's waterway transport policy up to 2015.
Implementation of the NAP has been part of the current government programme since early 2007. In May 2008 the sector and representatives of business and industry were given an update on implementation of the NAP and a progress report was published.