In 2015 the European Commission DG MOVE published the Invitation to tender N° MOVE/B3/2015-224 concerning “Study on support measures for the implementation of the TEN-T Core network related to sea ports, inland ports and inland waterway transport”. The consortium coordinated by STC-Group Holding BV with partners STC-NESTRA, viadonau, PLANCO, Inland Navigation Europe and Flemish Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, prepared a detailed technical proposal and was assigned the contract. The contract for this work was signed on 31st of December 2015 with a maximum duration of 24 months.
This study provides input on the notion of Good Navigation Status (GNS) in article 15.3 of the TEN-T Regulation 1315/2013 to be achieved (and thereafter preserved) by 31 December 2030 according to the article 38 of the Regulation. Moreover, in accordance with Article 54, the implementation of the core network shall be evaluated by the Commission by 31 December 2023. The GNS study also provides input for this evaluation and the possible revision of the TEN-T Regulation.
Besides desk research and expertise within the consortium, an important element was the involvement of a group of experts and stakeholders. Two pan-European expert group meetings took place (Rotterdam, Brussels) as well as four regional expert group meetings (Budapest, Klaipeda, Berlin, Strasbourg). The EMMA project supported the GNS consortia by the organisation the two regional expert group meetings in Klaipeda and Berlin to include the Baltic Sea Region's perspective, challenges and needs.
Besides the GNS concept, a major result of the GNS study was the delivery of the Guidelines for reaching GNS (current document). These guidelines were developed based on the GNS concept, illustrating the process steps which are defined to achieve GNS taking into account the local circumstances and stakeholders. The GNS Guidelines provide clear examples on good practices for waterway management and proper involvement of stakeholders. The good practices were collected by the GNS consortium in cooperation with experts and were validated by the working group over summer 2017.
Finally, an important piece of work was the elaboration of the exemption criteria and process in relation to the minimum requirements for bridge height and draught on the TEN-T inland waterway network. Through desk research and consultation of experts (e.g. at regional workshops) and the GNS steering group, the positions and arguments were identified as regards the exemption process and criteria. Notably the collaboration with the DG ENV was important, in order to make a proper link with the environmental legislation such as the Water Framework Directive.