Impact of eu transport network development on the danube
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Impact of EU transport network development on the Danube. Gábor Ungvári MAKK - Hungarian Environmental Economics Centre 23rd June 2004. Make distinction between categorisation of topics and measuring scale. Navegare neccesse est

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Impact of EU transport network development on the Danube

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Impact of EU transport network development on the Danube

Gábor Ungvári

MAKK - Hungarian Environmental Economics Centre

23rd June 2004

Make distinction between categorisation of topics and measuring scale

  • Navegare neccesse est

  • New chances on the basis of the EU's legislation for co-operative river-basin management

About TEN - Van Miert Report


  • INTEGRATE THE NETWORKS OF THE NEW MEMBER STATES Approximately 20,000 km of roads and 30,000 km of railways, as well as ports and airports, will have to be built or modernised to achieve the criteria and the objectives of the Decision on the trans-European network guidelines applicable in the current Member States. The investments to be made in those countries can be estimated at about €100 billion, which is huge compared with their GDP.

  • INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ENLARGEMENT IS A MATTER FOR ALL With enlargement, the Danube will become the backbone of the east-west waterway connection.Together with the Rhine, it will provide a key link between theBlack Sea and North Sea, offering enhanced transport opportunities for businesses seeking new markets in an enlarged Europe.

  • TEN Action on the medium run: List 1 (with firm commitments of countries that would be operational by 2020) Eliminating bottlenecks on the Rhine-Main-Danube


  • the legitimacy of the investment’s distribution effects

  • the sustainability basis

  • It is against the concept of the Water Framework Directive

Distribution effects: external costs

  • Gains in the transport sector and efficiency gains that capitalise on the unpaid external costs of transport

  • External costs of growing traffic emerge at all part of the society

Study "Scenarios, traffic forecast and analysis of TEN corridors", ordered by DG TREN. Figures exclude local traffic.


Distribution effects: external costs

About the logic of the inland waterways freight transport

  • the bigger the cheaper (economies of scale)

  • struggle for being reliable and time-tabled (Just in Time, anytime)

  • big quantities on closed route (to increase expectancy of constant flow, summed up from a big variety of goods)

  • cheaper to go around by sea

Danube Commission1988: minimum depth of the navigation channel 2.50m on 343 days per year (LNRL) from Vienna to Braila/RO

AGN 1996: draught of 2.50m on 240 days per year on the whole Danube

Proposal “Van Miert-Group“ 2003: draught of 2.50m on 343 days per year (LNRL) on the whole Danube

The proposal for the standards

Distribution effects: distribution of benefits

Distribution effects: The difference of economic structure

The competing interest of the new-member states and the countries of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine

  • highways to where and for whom? Markets divided by natural barriers and incompatibility problems.

  • decline of material intensive industry in the ex-COMECOM countries - less bulk out

  • new economic connections still formulating - smaller quantities - spatial dispersion of destinations - flexible transport modes fit better

  • In the CCNR region, abundant capacities (subsidised reduction of transport capacities, generous transfers for technical upgrade of the fleets), concentration

  • the do we really better off, if we spent public money on distribution networks to strengthen competition at our yards? (by any other bulk product arrive by sea?)

Sustainability: A river is not just the water and the riverbed between the banks. But much more!

The mistake of calculation

  • A mode of transport that is economical in non-renewable energy terms: a horsepower rating of 1 CV moves 150 kg by road, 500 kg by rail and 4 000 kg by waterway. Consequently, the amount of energy consumed per tonne-kilometre of freight transported by waterway comes to merely 1/6th of the amount consumed by road and half of the amount consumed by rail. Furthermore, after being in service for 50 years or more, an inland waterway vessel can be completely recycled.

The unbalanced comparison

The mix-up of nature's socio-economic impacts and its independent flows

  • Flood-plains have substantial role in the long term health and prosperity of river-valleys

  • External cost calculations can not cope with the long term degradation (over centuries) of river ecosystems (and of the dependent communities) - Sárköz (Gemenc), Drávaköz, Bodrogköz, Borsodi mezőség, Taktaköz…

The cruel laws of flowing water

  • natural river movements at the lower flow heading to spread water and rolling material over the “former” flood-palins toward equalisation of differences - meandering…

  • present practice works against it: concentrates and speeds up water with all of its consequences

  • or stops it to make water dead

The effects (costs)

  • sweep/dredge of riverbed, spur the banks => lower the average and low water level comparing to the banks, that drive away water from riparian ecosystems

  • spurs alter the filter properties that worsen the possibility to withdraw bank filtered water for drinking purposes

  • sedimentation changes flood patterns

  • worsening water quality no self-purification

Waterway transport as the key conflict point of co-existence with our rivers

  • A multipurpose regional planning entity: it is the only transport infrastructure that is not just a transport mechanism but is also used in conjunction with water supply (and water quality), flood protection, hydroelectricity (renewable energy), tourism on waterways, land reclamation (biodiversity, fauna, flora, impact on the landscape, river-city integration) and the inland waterways heritage.

  • only transport needs the concentration of water directly

  • Nature needs space and spread of water with all the functions based on it

  • land use patterns can adapt to new conditions if questions and conflicts are put to the right context

  • flood prevention has reached its limits in the current technical frame

  • No sustainable concept in sight to stop the degradation if all the present uses must be satisfied in the current scale

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