Objectives of the project

The overall aim of DaHar, in line with is to contribute to the better integration of inland navigation within the transport logistical chain by focussing on the multi-modal and logistical development of ports and port areas in small and medium-sized South East European (SEE) cities along the Danube. This contributes to these cities taking their appropriate share of the SEE economic development and playing a pivotal role in "priority networks" envisaged by the Green Paper on TEN-T (COM 2009) 44.

Specifically, DaHar intends to create an efficient transnational working platform for joint thinking and cooperation, for the purpose of optimal and harmonised utilisation of the multi-modal and logistical potentials of ports and port areas and, consequently, the harmonised division of functions in port development in a transnational context. As a result of positioning the ports and port cities in the logistical chain and embedding the professional work in a wider SEE and European policy context, it becomes possible to come to a transnational, SEE level consensus, which paves the way for the sustainable development of the logistical network of Danube cities and ports. The project is meant to set the ground for future development plans for the ports with respect to their diversification and specification in the transport logistical chain, potentially to be funded through relevant financing instruments.

Sub-objectives have been determined to cover important aspects of harmonised multi-modal and logistical port development, as a response to the main obstacles identified. Work packages in the project have also been designed to respond to these sub-objectives, which are as follows: 1) Exploit the development and cooperation potentials of participating ports through transfer of knowledge 2) Develop an integrated strategy for functional specialisation in the Danube logistic chain 3) Ensure stakeholder support and enhance the consensus building process

Problem or challenge to be addressed

Strengthening the commercial potentials of the Danube as a sustainable boundless transport axe is crucial to ease the burden on transportation network, which is currently monopolised by road transport. Reliance on road transport is unsustainable and inefficient and also leads to externalities negatively affecting the natural environment. SEE Danube regions could play an important role in enhancing inland navigation especially as they provide access to broader commercial activities due to maritime proximity. However, heavily fragmented infrastructure, weak trans-national connections and intra-regional disparities regarding secondary networks are major obstacles to development.

Transnational approach

Irrespective of sovereign responsibility in the field of port infrastructure planning and implementation, the question of how national and regional levels of planning can be combined is more and more relevant as transport and logistical networks become increasingly complex. Regarding waterway cargo transport and related port development, the need for transnational action is warranted due to the economic interrelations and transport patterns between regions. In the project frame, a joint vision will guide a well coordinated development concept for defining roles and functions of ports of small and medium sized cities in the logistical chain, contributing to their efficient channelling into the Inland Waterway Transport network. The concept will be based upon a complementary approach to improving logistical functions, for the ultimate purpose of enhancing competitiveness of the SEE region.

The joint work in the frame of DaHar will result in the elaboration of an integrated strategy defining functional specialisation in the transport logistical chain. The development of such a strategy involves the relevant partners and stakeholders from policy-making, the industry and also research, aiming at finding agreed solutions to common challenges and opportunities, providing a governance mechanism for a common strategic approach, as well as for the implementation of concrete future actions and projects.