The EU needs to continuously adapt European transport to current and future needs, especially in view of the changes in demand and the upward trend in seaport turnover. The key features must be multimodality and smart shipping, tapping into the advantages of the various modes of transport to achieve the best possible results, while at the same time increasing safety and reducing the environmental burden.

This is the main message of the opinion drafted by Mateusz Szymański and adopted at the EESC's January plenary session, addressing the Commission's Communication on "NAIADES III: Boosting future-proof European inland waterway transport".

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Mr Szymański said: "NAIADES III is an important action plan. The EESC supports efforts to increase the share of inland waterway transport (IWT) in passenger and freight transport. There is huge potential in this area, which is still lying dormant. We need political will and commitment at many levels to set up support measures for the development and maintenance of infrastructure and the promotion of IWT as a career sector. The TEN-T network also needs to be updated to respond to new transport trends." (mp)