III. Newsletter

DaHar to appear in Brussels

The DaHar project will have a chance to present themselves to renowned European navigation experts in Brussels mid-December. Besides displaying the results the main objective is to build contacts and acquire the support of EU decision makers in order to continue the program.

The European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP) will be the host of the event to be held in December which will be attended by the representatives of the European Parliament and the relevant directories, with navigation and logistics experts coming from several different countries. The purpose of the introductory event is to present the conclusions, which were conceived based on the achieved results and performed work, to the decision makers of the European Union.
The question of how the continent’s thousands of kilometres long navigable water lines could contribute efficiently to the permanent and sustainable development of certain regions is of paramount importance for the EU and the member countries as well. The port assessments, action plans and strategies created during the course of the DaHar project contain recommendations which - in case of their successful implementation – could lead to the more efficient utilization of the Danube, while other proposals are aimed at legislation and development directions recommended to be recognized by the EU and the national governments. DaHar’s delegation, lead by Máté Győri professional project manager, will not only present the achieved results, but prepares to submit a document comprising of actual policy recommendations to EU leaders. This report includes proposals which could already mean short or medium-term assistance to the more efficient utilization of logistics potential lying within partner ports. This report includes proposals which could already mean short or medium-term assistance to the more efficient utilization of logistics potential lying within partner ports.

Győri Máté
Máté Győri

Among the most important tasks on the agenda are points needing the creation of new legislations and new investments. The first group features, for example, the introduction of an EU-standard regulation which is valid for the whole of the river, or the securing of smooth cross-border flow of information through RIS (River Information Services), which would heavily assist navigation. Issues which are in need of investments of a serious level, but nevertheless necessary, are the securing of an at least 2.5 meters guaranteed draft during the whole year across the whole navigable segment, and the establishment of an effective road and rail linkage between the ports and at least one Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) in order to achieve the proper level of logistics channel capacity.

This appearance will be only one – although, a very important and meaningful one – phase of the series of attempts to persuade the decision makers. In order to achieve success the projects need to establish more contacts and use all the opportunities to exchange information. Several decision makers have to be contacted, informed and impressed as well. Results only come after long-term and persistent lobbying, where the background work before and after such events is perhaps even more important than the actual meeting.

To this end the DaHar personnel are constantly informing the leaders of EP delegation about the project and keeping contact with certain directorates and professional organizations. The objective is to win over as much people as possible and persuade them about the importance of progress, to give a chance of realization to the concepts existing only on paper for the time being.

Support forums are making a difference

Three support forums are being organized in each country participating in the DaHar project in order to provide detailed information about research results and plans regarding port logistics. The majority of these forums have already been concluded, thus creating a conversational platform which is essential for success.

Since last May DaHar partners held 14 support forums in six countries, most recently in Bratislava in early November and then two days later in Dunaújváros, Hungary. The purpose of these events is to provide opportunities - within the framework of the project’s most important milestones - for specialists, the politicians of the regions responsible for the ports, the economic players and all interested laymen to meet and swap impressions. Four more forums will be organized until spring, which will have meant that every country offered three such opportunities for conversation.

Guests of the conferences are coming from all circles of life: besides city leaders and the most important members of the local political scene the participants are comprised of entrepreneurs, company directors, representatives of chambers and professional associations, and navigation and other logistics experts. Furthermore, central authorities and ministries of certain countries and researchers of universities operating in the given region have attended the event in more than one occasion. Since we are talking about public forums, representatives of the media and interested citizens visit these forums in great numbers as well.

The schedule consists of a general introduction of the DaHar project and discussions about port-specific results focusing on the host venue in the form of the State-of-the-Art studies, which are set out to assess the opportunities and risks, and the Master Plans, or in other words analyses summarizing the research results. Regarding actual local development ideas lively debates have sprung up between the representatives of various professions and institutions, usually providing new viewpoints and contributing concepts worthy of consideration to the already existing material.

Ovidiu Costea
Ovidiu Costea

- Support forums have produced important feedback for us about our work, and meant a great deal for raising awareness and popularity about the DaHar project – said Ovidiu Costea, project manager of the Municipality of Galaţi, Romania. – What we heard during the forum helped to make the local action plan more efficient and the communication with experts coming from a wide scale of areas provides substantial assistance when adapting to European development concepts. I regard it a serious success that we made the cooperation between the parties even more productive, and we helped them realize that the Danube logistics potential could only be strengthened, if the concerned regions, cities and ports are working together for a common goal. – he concluded.

Logistics potential of the Danube region mapped

Specialists of the DaHar project created a detailed and informative GIS (geographic information system) database in order to analyse the industry and agriculture of regions connected to the Danube regarding logistics opportunities.

The study and its accompanying maps have collected the data of 11 countries in order to assess and evaluate the performances and shares of economic sectors – with special focus on industries producing heavy goods suitable for water cargo transport, or in other words, agriculture and heavy industry - located near the navigable lines of the Danube and its subsidiaries.

Besides the seven member countries of the DaHar project, the assessment includes the German state of Bavaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic and Slovenia as well. The maps display the data broken down to EU convergence regions, and even at first glance, without the in-depth analysis of economical details, they show the spread of important river and sea ports, navigable lines, roads and railway lines, in addition to the impressive image of logistics opportunities of the featured regions. – concluded Karin Kainzinger when asked to describe the initiative.

The eight maps are targeting eight different industries: cereal production, mining, oil industry, steel, paper and chemical industry, mechanical engineering and forestry. Examining the regional distribution and production potential of these sectors one can come to conclusions such as several navigable rivers (Danube, Tisza, Sava) are meeting in the regions with the largest agricultural capacity in Hungary (Transdanubia) and Serbia (Vojvodina). Several important ports are located in these regions (Dunaújváros, Vukovar, Novi Sad), and with proper organization agriculture could generate serious traffic for them.

A similar observation could be made while inspecting the map about mining. This industry is the most prominent in the western and south-western development regions of Romania and in areas of Serbia located south of the Danube. Thanks to the ports of Novi Sad and Lom, the river is, again, accessible for transporting exploited raw materials. A long list could be made about further examples, e.g. a substantial machine engineering potential is concentrated in Upper-Austria, near Ennshafen, while the chemical industry favours eastern areas, on both sides of the borders of Austria, Hungary and Slovakia, all in the vicinity of the port of Bratislava. 

The map is completed with a report on the strengths and – partly untapped, for the time being – opportunities of DaHar ports. These reports are intended to display the expansion potential of the given regions and to seek and explore the potential connection points with the relevant industries of the area.

„Dahar II” – the future under progress

The realization of concepts and development objectives detailed in the documents compiling the achieved results of the DaHar project, or in other words the Master Plans and Strategic Plans, could take place during the – proposed – second phase of the project. With much faith in success, preparations of DaHar II are already underway: besides the conception of detailed plans, great emphasis is placed on the acquisition of financial resources.

The most important task of DaHar’s next phase would be the realization of as much strategic development directions as possible, which were determined by the detailed analyses performed under the current phase of the DaHar project. A widespread agreement among the partners accompanied the plans regarding the future: every decision maker, the participants of the project and the people who got to know it during the events expressed support for the continuation of the efforts. The method, however, is not yet determined. There are no finalized concepts yet, but the partners have already conceived their development ideas with further alternatives.

In the case of Dunaújváros two possible solutions came into mind. One is the construction of a completely new port on the banks under the Pentele-bridge. This proposed greenfield investment would feature a yearly 6 million tons of operational and a 3.2 million tons of loading capacity, and culminate in a full-scale port with road and rail linkages. It would also house ship repair services, a customs office and additional terminals dedicated to different logistics needs. This development, which is a part of the projects of the National Development Plan II., would cost HUF 77 billion.

A cheaper alternative would be the updating and expansion of the ISD-Dunaferr port. This would mean the increase of road and rail capacities leading towards the Danube, and the modernization and extension of the already existing facilities (the lengthening of the river-wall, the construction of loading bridges, acquisition of cranes, etc.). The estimated budget of this process is around HUF 14-17 billion.

Similar developments are under consideration at the other partner ports as well. For example, Ennshafen is envisioning the improvement of traffic relations, dredging and the launch of liner services, Bratislava would update wharfs, build new terminals and implement additional security developments, while Silistra of Bulgaria intends to expand the opportunities regarding storage capacity and container management.

Rédli László
László Rédli

- The realization of these plans is primarily depends on financial circumstances. For this reason, the quality of integration into the European Union’s development programs is crucial. – said László Rédli, representative of the Municipality of Dunaújváros and the project manager of DaHar. - One serious advantage of the project is that the Trans-European Transport Network’s VII. corridor is essentially the Danube’s water line from Austria to Romania. In connection with this subject the Union have expressed their views also, stating that the ports must enjoy special attention, and for this reason, besides the detailed national development plans the concerned countries have to create a coordinated and harmonized mutual concept. – added Rédli.

The Paneuropean development guidelines related to the Danube will be determined by the Danube Strategy during the forthcoming years.  The strategy, which has among its declared goals the improvement of transport, established its own institutional system and operational mechanism. The next step for them will be the admission into EU’s transnational macro-programs for the budget cycle of 2014-2020. This way the strategy is entitled to access exclusive development funds and enabled to apply for the allocations of other development programs.

It is important to stress, that DaHar is included in the Strategy’s highlighted domestic programs, and regional commissioner Balázs Medgyesy, a representative of the Government of Hungary, also expressed his support several times. This way, domestic operative programs could be utilized as development resources.
In order to secure the project’s future smooth sailing several contacts have been established between the organizers of the DaHar project and the institutions coordinating European and international development programs. Primarily local and regional development institutions with decision-making authority and secretaries and ministry background institutions responsible for international programs are targeted. Good relations with these bodies are essential, since in order to realize the plans, continuous cooperation has to be maintained.

View the newsletter in PDF format.