Rhine-Alpine News

EGTC Rhine-Alpine: Assembly and Advisory Board meeting

The EGTC Rhine-Alpine held its autumn Assembly online on 20 November, chaired by Christianne Van der Wal, regional minister of transport at Gelderland Province. During the internal meeting, members adopted the budget 2021 and agreed to welcome a new member, the Province of Nord-Brabant (NL) as member number 26!

EGTC Advisory Board focusing on Inland Waterways

Christian Specht, First Mayor of Mannheim, chaired the Advisory Board meeting, which gathers once a year. For the first time the new vice chair, Prof. em. Bernd Scholl/ETH Zurich took part, introduced as the “spiritus rector” of the EGTC’s foundation 5 years ago.

During the meeting, EGTC Director Jörg Saalbach presented the up-dated mid-term Action Plan, focusing on Cross-border issues, Resilience of the Corridor, Green Corridor, Smart Mobility / Digitalisation, and Communication. He underlined that due to the COVID-19 crisis a new digital format was established successfully: the “Rhine-Alpine Talks. This public event takes place every first Friday per month and deals with specific corridor-related topics presented by Members of the European Parliament and experts from science, research, politics and the industry. 

The main part of the meeting was dedicated to the “importance and role of inland waterways in the Rhine-Alpine Corridor”. Four speakers – Katrin De Schepper, Director Inland Navigation Europe (INE), Jennifer Trabant, Ministry for Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia, Benjamin Sinaba, Head of Shipping Department, Wasserstraßen- und Schiffahrtsamt Oberrhein and Manfred Rausch, European Projects Manager of Port autonome de Strasbourg  – elaborated on this topic from their particular perspective, all of them emphasizing the growing relevance of inland waterways, especially on the Rhine-Alpine Corridor, pointing out current challenges.

Deutsche Bahn proposes new Frankfurt-Mannheim route

Passenger trains will connect Darmstadt via the new line, while freight trains will bypass the city (photo: Deutsche Bahn)

Central to the Rhine-Alpine corridor and the European rail network, both main railway lines between Frankfurt and Mannheim are operating at capacity. Besides long distance passenger and freight services, they are used by heavy commuter and regional traffic. Deutsche Bahn has now presented its preferred proposal for an additional route. It is intended for fast long distance passenger services during the day and long distance freight trains during the night, and it will bypass the larger towns. Darmstadt, a city between Frankfurt and Mannheim, will get a link to the new line that will allow full integration of its passenger service.

The planning process has included local citizens. Now, the plans await the political decision making. Find out about the details here (external link, German language).

Rhine: Inland navigation now basically exempt of 72 hr rule

Inland navigation on the Rhine

German Covid-19 regulation allows people who professionally accompany cargo to enter Germany for up to 72 hours without quarantine. This time window is insufficient for inland navigation up and down the Rhine. The states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate therefore allowed longer stays. Baden-Württemberg recently followed suit, anticipating a decision of the State Court of Administration. This now allows for most traffic on the Rhine and its tributaries to operate as usual. Read more here (external link, German language).

Rhine-Alpine talks “Smart Logistics”

The “Rhine-Alpine Talks” #5 are ready to start on 4 December 2020, from 11:00 – 12:30 h and will deal with the topic: “Smart Logistics“. Our invited speakers represent policy makers as well as smart mobility experts from practice. Please check the agenda, become part of the corridor community and register here for this meeting.