PDI Projects

Pro Danube prepares strategic projects in line with its priority topics. At the same time, it also takes part in transnational consortia dealing with topics relevant for the IWT sector such as energy efficiency, supply chain management, digitalization, port management. Below you may find a selection of some of our most important projects.

PhysICAL – Physical Internet through Cooperative Austrian Logistics

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The main strategic goal of PhysICAL is to demonstrate by 2024 that cooperative logistics will bring economic benefits to shippers and the transport industry in Austria.

Specifically, this goal relates to the reduction of transport cost expected in the framework of  the foreseen four pilots which amounts of up to 10% (in pilot "Booking platform", pilot "Smart logistic", pilot "CEP last mile", pilot "Supply Chain 3.0") by:
- Significant simplification and shortening of the intermodal booking process (up to 70% faster) through an open booking platform
- Increased rail competitiveness through the use of cooperatively used containers in the circulatory system (in the framework of the pilots KEP & wood logistics) and thus reduction of transport costs
- Reduced logistics process costs (up to 30%) by using the open platform and the containers
- Lower turnaround times (up to 50%) through improved planning within the framework of the open platform
- Reduced empty trips (up to 15%) through the use of the open platform and Supply Chain 3.0 approach as well as cooperative CEP delivery and smart wood logistics
- Improving the resilience of the entire network and thus the safety and quality of the transports through the digital twin
- Support in establishing fair competitive conditions in intermodal transport through equality and integration of all modes of transport
- Easy way for SMEs to participate in eCommerce through the global supply chain 3.0 pilot

There are also numerous ecological and socio-economic benefits such as: reduction of relevant greenhouse gas emissions (by about 10-15%) and hence an important contribution to the implementation of the strategy for a "climate-neutral Austria in 2050".

Project background
Seventeen partners are actively engaged in the PhysICAL project – “Physical Internet through Cooperative Austrian Logistics" - having the core objective to efficiently implement physical internet in cooperative logistics, using different types of smart technologies and applications. The project is lead by Fraunhofer Austria and funded in the framework of the National FTI-Program “Mobility of the Future” by the Austrian Ministry for Climate Protection (FTI Programm “Mobilität der Zukunft”, Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz).

More information is available at: https://physical-project.at/

DIONYSUS – Integrating Danube Region into Smart and Sustainable Multimodal & Intermodal Transport Chains

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The project’s overarching goal is to facilitate DR’s integration into multimodal and intermodal freight and passenger transport systems. In this context, Danube ports must be seen as key elements of the extensive DR transport system (which consists of a range of corridors, each with specific characteristics in terms of scale, trade, transport modes used, price and service quality), which are essential to help achieve this overarching goal. To this end, a growing consensus recognizes the need for a smart and sustainable Danube port development planning corroborated with overall national transport infrastructure planning and regional economic development plans. In this regard, the future development of Danube ports shall take into consideration the transport corridor development requirements and perspectives of the TEN-T policy. Accordingly, the project will carry out a multi-layered assessment (the infrastructure layer, the transport market layer and the logistics & port services layer) across different levels of infrastructure planning and governance (local, national and regional) in line with Danube Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) market, trade (volume and structure) considerations and realities, with a particular focus on Danube port-related infrastructure needs. As a result, it will highlight, promote and carry out activities across levels of governance in line with relevant specific objectives of EU policies (Transport, TEN-T and Cohesion) in order to ensure scope and development priorities alignment among port planning, overall transport infrastructure planning and national plans for Regional Economic Development benefiting Danube Region ports. Also, the project aims to further strengthen DR connectivity with the EU Eastern Partnership and with Black Sea riparian countries by addressing transport infrastructure connectivity. Ports digitalization capabilities shall be assessed at the corridor level and dedicated measures proposed. Pro Danube Management GmbH is an active partner in the consortium, being involved in all project activities. 

Project background
The DIONYSUS project is co-funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI) under the Danube Transnational Programme and will run for 30 months (July 2020 – December 2022).  It will be implemented by a transnational consortium of 18 co-funded organisations and 8 associated strategic partners (ministries of transport, vessel operators and their associations, authorities, academia) from 9 Danube countries. The project has a total budget of 3,603,511.25 EUR, out of which ERDF contribution amounts 2,660,157.35 EUR, IPA contribution amounts 263,212.46 EUR & ENI contribution amounts 680,141.44 EUR.

STEERER – Structuring Towards Zero Emission Waterborne Transport

Considering the diversity of the sector, the geographical scope, the international dimension and the challenge to transform waterborne transport into a zero-emission mode of transport (including all possible types of emission), STEERER will support the development of a unified approach concerning the implementation of zero-emission technologies. It brings together the key actors to reach the zero-emission objective, builds consensus on the decrease of emissions towards 2050, and develops an ambitious research and innovation agenda, including an implementation plan. The cornerstone of the implementation plan is to secure that the transition towards zero-emission waterborne transport is economically viable and putting Europe as a world leader in the transition process.

Key stakeholders of the waterborne transport sector have expressed their views to decarbonise shipping (ranging from energy suppliers, to ship-owners, shipbuilders and maritime equipment suppliers, ports, shippers, classification societies, infrastructural companies, environmental non-profit organisations, research institutes, citizens associations and policy makers). In addition, several initiatives have already been undertaken or will be launched soon. These initiatives range from the introduction of alternative fuels or energy carriers for waterborne transport, developing measurers to implement GHG reduction strategies, infrastructural developments, technological innovations to supporting policies and financing instruments.


  • Establishing a European Community jointly working towards zero-emission waterborne transport as part of the logistics chain, delivering clear commitment to reaching zero-emission transport by latest 2050 by:
       - reaching agreement on emission targets towards 2050;
       - developing a Research and Innovation Agenda, based on jointly agreed priorities;
       - designing an implementation plan consisting of business models, as well as supporting policies and regulations, ensuring European competitiveness regarding solutions for zero-emission waterborne transport.
  • Create and execute an awareness campaign on the importance of waterborne transport and its commitment to become a fully sustainable mode of transport.

More information is available at: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/875285

COMPETING – Competence Based Education and Training for Inland Navigation

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COMPETING project paves the way for the introduction of competency based future proof education and training for inland navigation crew members throughout the European Union. Future certificates will be recognised throughout Europe. Sustainable solutions, automation and digitalisation as well as communication on a European level will be part of the education and training programmes. The utmost goal of the project is to increase labour mobility in the inland shipping sector. COMPETING is an Erasmus+ project.


  • Develop a European wide recognized and modern curricula and lesson materials for IWT,
  • Develop a quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) system to ensure the highest level of quality concerning the implementation of future proof IWT education and training throughout the EU,
  • Implementation of the EU legislation, resulting in a comparable system for recognition of educational programmes and properly qualified crew with the possession of a Union certificate.

Areas of action concerned:

  • Navigation
  • Operation of the vessel
  • Cargo handling, stowage and passenger transport
  • Marine engineering and electrical, electronic and control engineering
  • Maintenance and repair; communication; health and environmental protection

More information is available at: www.iwt-competencies.eu/competing

GRENDEL – Green and Efficient Danube Fleet

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The project aims to support the Danube vessels operators and their public counterparts in ecological and economic modernisation of the inland navigation sector and in definition and deployment of necessary transition measures. Dedicated activities will raise the awareness of the Danube fleet operators & sector concerning the impact of new regulations, advanced technologies which reduce air pollutants & energy consumption of inland vessels as well as improved transport & logistics management processes making use of digitalisation. On the other side, GRENDEL will support ministries and public authorities in elaborating public support measures (State Aid schemes) based on investment priorities of relevant Danube inland waterway fleet operators.

Improving the environmental and economic performance of the Danube fleet is the overall goal of the GRENDEL project. It aims to achieve a higher acceptance and use of inland waterway transport (IWT) as an environmentally friendly transport mode contributing to economic growth and a more sustainable transport system in the Danube region. GRENDEL addresses various fleet modernisation aspects: [i] use of low carbon & alternative fuels, [ii] reduction of air pollutant emissions (CO2, NOx, PM) and [iii] overall energy consumption. Besides this, [iv] transport & logistics management processes are addressed to ensure better integration of the Danube IWT into logistics chains through new services (including River Information Services), digital data provision as well as dedicated tools to improve efficiency of fleet operations.

Project background
The GRENDEL project is co-funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA) under the Danube Transnational Programme and will run for 30 months (June 2018 – November 2020).  It will be implemented by a transnational consortium of 13 co-funded organisations and 10 associated strategic partners (ministries of transport, vessel operators and their associations, authorities) from 7 Danube countries. The project has a total budget of 1,824,999.20 EUR, out of which ERDF contribution amounts 1,481,137.05 EUR & IPA contribution amounts 70,112.25 EUR.

The project factsheet can be downloaded here. More information is available at: www.interreg-danube.eu/grendel

DANTE - Improving Administrative Procedures and Processes for Danube IWT

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DANTE aims at identifying and eliminating the administrative barriers for inland waterway transport (IWT) on the Danube & its navigable tributaries as a joint initiative of the private sector and the national public authorities responsible for these barriers. The project partners will develop good practices and guidelines for effective administration of IWT activities in relation to the identified barriers. The proposed solutions will be discussed with the responsible authorities at national and transnational working tables. This approach shall deliver quick solutions and facilitate a wide harmonisation of procedures and processes along the Danube river. One key element for the successful project implementation will be the development of a transnational IWT barrier reporting tool for collecting user experiences. 

Project background
The DANTE project is co-funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA) under the Danube Transnational Programme and will run for 30 months (January 2017 – June 2019).  It will be implemented by a transnational consortium of 16 co-funded organisations and 12 associated strategic partners (public authorities, consulting companies, universities and NGOs) from 10 European countries.  The project has a total budget of 1.982.786,00 Euro, out of which ERDF contribution amounts 1.650.134,75 Euro & IPA contribution amounts 35.233,35 Euro.

More information is available at: www.interreg-danube.eu/dante

DAPhNE - Danube Ports Network

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DAPhNE aims to facilitate a balanced development of Danube Ports as eco-friendly, well accessible multimodal hubs for the transport system of the region and to turn Danube Ports into buzzing economic centres functioning as catalysts for economic growth and creation of high value jobs. The project will establish a well-managed and permanent working platform which tackles the most urgent insufficiencies with the help of guidelines, recommendations and concrete pilot activities based on best practices and leading into an overall development strategy and action plan. The solutions elaborated by the consortium will be shared with more than 60 Danube ports as possible blueprints. Improved coordination and transnational integration achieved via pilot actions and common tools developed by private and public members of the port community will lead to joint solutions for revising and harmonizing port legislation, port administration and port management in the entire Danube region

Project background
“DAPhNE – Danube Ports Network” project is co-funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA) under the Danube Transnational Programme and will run for 30 months (January 2017 – June 2019). The project is implemented by a transnational consortium of 16 co-funded organisations and 7 associated strategic partners (public authorities, consulting companies, universities and NGOs) from 9 European countries (AT, SK, HU, HR, RS, RO, BG, UK, MD). The project has a total budget of 2.985.406,15 Euro, out of which ERDF contribution amounts 2.415.219,42 Euro & IPA contribution amounts 122.375,77 Euro.

More information is available at: www.interreg-danube.eu/daphne

GREEN DANUBE - Integrated transnational policies and practical solutions for an environmentally-friendly Inland Water Transport system in the Danube region

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Green Danube addresses major challenges in the Danube transport system and provides practical solutions to be used in subsequent emission reduction strategy and for further development of safer and low emission IWT as well as for the implementation of innovative green technologies. The project will focus on emission reductions from IWT in particular in ecologically sensitive areas such as the Danube Delta. The project aims to contribute to better integrated policies and practical solutions for further development of IWT while limiting its negative impacts on the Danube ecosystem.
Project background
Green Danube project is co-funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA) under the Danube Transnational Programme and will run for 30 months (January 2017 – June 2019). The project is implemented by a transnational consortium of 10 co-funded organisations and 6 associated strategic partners (public authorities, consulting companies, universities and NGOs) from 7 European countries (DE, AT, HU, RS, HR, RO, BG). The project has a total budget of 1.586.244 Euro, out of which ERDF contribution amounts 1.267.897,40 Euro & IPA contribution amounts 80.410 Euro.

A project factsheet can be downloaded here. For more information, please refer to the project's website:www.interreg-danube.eu/green-danube

NOVIMAR - Novel IWT and maritime transport concepts

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Novimar, a project funded under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aims to adjust the waterborne transportation such that it can make optimal use of the existing short-sea and inland waterways vessels, while benefitting from a new system of operations that will expand the entire waterborne transport chain up and into the urban environment. A key element herein is the Novimar approach to navigation using new commmand and control automation technology and new collaborative River Information Systems.
The project brings together 22 partners (unioversities, authorities, training centres, technology providers, port administrations, consulting companies) from both north-western Europe (Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany) and CEE Region (Austria, Hungary, Serbia).

- Promoting innovation in the inland waterways transport sector

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PROMINENT, a project funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, addresses the key needs for technological development, as well as the barriers to innovation and greening in the European inland navigation sector. PROMINENT thereby is fully in line with the objectives of the European action programme NAIADES-II. PROMINENT is ultimately aimed at providing solutions which make inland navigation as competitive as road transport in terms of air pollutant emissions by 2020 and beyond. In parallel PROMINENT aims to further decrease the energy consumption and carbon footprint of IWT, an area where IWT has already a strong advantage compared to road transport.

PROMINENT focuses on: 
– Massive transition towards efficient and clean vessels;
– Certification and monitoring of emission performance and development of innovative regimes;
– Harmonisation and modernisation of professional qualifications and the stimulation of the further integration of IWT into sustainable transport chains.
The PROMINENT partners have found broad support among political and commercial decision makers in the field of inland navigation. Through its direct access to relevant industrial stakeholders and Member States the consortium has obtained significant backup needed to perform the work. The commitment of these organisations will lead to a high acceptance and further dissemination of results.

For more information, please refer to the project's website: http://www.prominent-iwt.eu/
LNG Masterplan for Rhine-Main-Danube

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The LNG Masterplan for Rhine-Main-Danube is a project initiative filed in the TEN-T MAP Call 2012. The action addresses Priority Project Nr. 18 “Waterway axis Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube” of the TEN T network. It will provide a European strategy and pilot deployments for Liquefied Natural gas (LNG) as fuel for inland vessels as well as for LNG as cargo being transported on waterways and distributed via inland ports. The action consists of a set of feasibility studies, technical concepts, technical trials and pilot deployments of vessels and terminals. It is a multi-partner application of 33 companies and organisations from 12 EU Member States and will run from 2013-2015. The project volume eligible for EU co-finance amounts to app. 34 Mio € (out of which 19.28 Mio € are dedicated to pilot activites).

The LNG Masterplan provides a platform for key stakeholders from the public and private sector for the facilitation of parallel development of the necessary regulatory framework for LNG as vessel fuel and as cargo, and will deliver initial deployment in terminal and vessel infrastructure. Thus, it will break the chicken and egg situation for further investment. A European strategy as well as guidelines and recommendations for a full-scale LNG deployment shall support authorities and industry.

The project has a strong support from several Ministries of Transport along R-M-D axis, CCNR and many stakeholders from industry and their professional organisations. The action addresses major EU priorities like: Europe 2020 – New Economic Strategy (2010) with Flagship initiative “Resource Efficient Europe”, European Union Climate Action - Climate Energy Policy (2009), White Paper on Transport – 2030/2050 perspective (2010) and the Proposal for the "Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure" (2013) which is part of the "Clean Power for Transport Package".  The action therefore has to be considered as major policy action to fulfil the ambitious European objectives for use of alternative fuels, modal shift and greening of the inland navigation sector.

The project investigates the benefits of implementing LNG as fuel and as cargo for the Danube fleet and identify obstacles and costs. It developes a comprehensive strategy together with a detailed master plan for the necessary implementation steps.

Further details on the project are available on the project website: http://lngmasterplan.eu/


HINT - Harmonised Inland Navigation Transport through Education and Information Technology


Capitalization of NELI outputs and experience, cooperation and synergies with institutions and projects provided a valuable basis for a follow up project. The HINT project (Harmonised Inland Waterways Navigation through education and information technology) will foster and enlarge transnational partnerships among stakeholders in inland navigation education & training (E&T), administrative and transport sectors in the South East European Region.

The project has the following objectives:

  • Integration of Danube Region into the European harmonised education process by supporting and promoting emergence and implementation of harmonised European standards on training of river personnel;
  • Development of training and assessment IT applications and tools by set up of a self-assessment platform for ADN certificate, development of case studies, related multimedia materials, new learning modules within INeS Danube Platform (e.g. RIS);
  • Creation of framework conditions for transnational cooperation by set up of a cooperation platform for all IWT involved actors (E&T providers, stakeholders etc.), upload of IWT E&T materials, Danube related event calendar, relevant net-works, projects and initiatives, identification and implementation of cooperation actions;
  • Development of business and technical concepts for a Danube school ship, a navigation simulator and ports/logistic simulator resulting in the ultimate development of a harmonized concept for on-board vs. simulator training.;
  • Promotion of IWT jobs and careers via a transnational IWT jobs campaign and pilot actions organized in the new Information and Training Centres being developed/extended during the project in BG, SK, RS, HR, RO and UA.

Further details on the project are available here icon pdf


Green Danube Ports A strategy and pilot action to increase efficiency and environmental sustainability of port operations

Danube ports are vital elements in the logistics chain and important centres of economic activities. Nevertheless, the transport market is a very competitive one and in order for inland navigation to compete with the other modes of transport, ports must be sustainably enhanced. Moving towards sustainability means that efforts should be made for ports to increase their economic productivity with the help of investments in green technologies so as to be able to establish and provide new green services to all their users. The improvement in the eco-footprint of ports will have an important impact from an environmental, economic and social point of view. The project analyzes and provides solutions regarding activities like: 1) recycling and waste management in ports (obsolete port equipment, polluted sediments and other waste), 2) the reduction of hazardous emissions in ports through well-planned strategies and the improvement of energy efficiency, 3) ports as providers and distributors of renewable energy and 4) the establishment of an effective sustainability policy for ports based on the EMAS audit scheme.

Further details on the project are available here icon ppt


Employment in Danube Navigation – A road-map to a sustainable and prosperous Danube navigation system that offers attractive jobs and working conditions for its employees

The project will investigate in the current socio-economic situation and the parameters of the business and of the employees in the Danube navigation sector. The project will provide a sound analysis as well as substantial recommendations for a forward strategy and a road-map for gradual improvements in the framework of European transport, labour and social policy.

In addition, the project will identify existing shortcomings and propose concrete actions on how to improve the overall efficiency of Danube navigation, raise the levels of education & training and on how to increase social security standards as well as labour conditions to become more attractive for the skilled workforce.

Further details on the project are available here icon doc

Additional project proposals will be soon elaborated on together with members and partners addressing the improvement of the Danube fleet, Motorways of the Sea connecting to Danube transport with a dedicated focus on Turkey as well as with regard to education and training of personnel.