Infrastructure and Waterways

Inland navigation can only be competitive to other modes of transport, if there is a good network of navigable waterways and accessible infrastructure. There are several key aspects of infrastructure and waterways, like the width, depth and height. These aspects become more important, as modern vessels have a higher load and a deeper draft. Besides, the availability of operations at shiplocks and bridges are important. Water management should be focussed on maintaining and - even - improving these aspects, making waterways easier navigable for inland waterway transport. In order to standardize, the European Conference of Ministers of Transport has set the ECMT-standards to scale all the European waterways.




Water management and ship locks

In addition to rivers and canals, structural works comprise not only bridges but also locks, dams and dykes form part of the waterway structure. The various works affect the utilisation of the waterway structure by inland shipping navigation, and to a large extent they determine the maximum size of the ships on the waterways.



The maintenance of the main fairways is the responsibility of the Department of Public Works and Water Management, which is the executing agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. Focus lies on:

  • The maintenance of the existing fairways.
  • Reducing the maintenance backlogs.
  • Operating the locks and bridges.
  • Improving the safety on the fairways.


Presentations on this topic at the Rivers of the World Forum: