The system of transport of goods can certainly be improved. Congestion, capacity problems and delays can affect the mobility and economic competitiveness and damage the environment and quality of life. The EU has undertaken, particularly in recent years, to pursue the goal of shifting transport modes to lower power consumption, greener and safer. To achieve these objectives, the use of inland waterway transport is imposed as an obvious choice to play a more prominent role. Since this is a mode of transport that has often transboundary nature, action at both national and EU level, resulting in practical initiatives which fully exploit the market potential is able to offer the inland and more attractive.

The navigation network is structured with a number of impressive infrastructure, such as basins and ports. The first are an integral part of the some waterways, making possible the transition between segments other than area at a different sea level , or softening the slope on the route of a single waterway; the second are the terminals for ships that lead transport goods to and from North Italy.

Main harbours

The waterway network is characterized by a series of harbours and docks public and private. These last terminal are not used by companies operating in the logistics, and therefore for services to third parties, but are mainly used to supply goods or handling the same. Anyway are part of the waterway system, even those harbours which, even having a maritime aspect , are characterized in part by the presence of an inland waterway to go into inland. It hasn’t to be underestimated that harbours completely maritime, could be considered even river on the basis of the principle of equivalence operated by the Agreement of the internal costal waterway. This is absolutely true when ports are essential for the terminal transhipment cargo – barge and the entrance to inland waters.

The navigation locks

The navigation locks have an instrumental role to make navigation easier , smoothing the present gradients , and acting as a real “lifts” for the canals. Today the entire navigation system in Northern Italy is of 26 basins and they are all already prepared or going to be prepared to Class Va. And it is necessary to point out some interventions, of crucial importance for the further development of the inland navigation northern Italy: adjustment to the Class V of the basin of Isola Serafini (E91-02, director Cremona – Casale Monferrato, between Piacenza and Cremona) is an important point to extent the traffic on this director, now not yet used.

The construction of the Basin Mantua Valdaro, (E91-01, Channel Mantova – Adriatic), let the direct connection between the canal and the lakes of Mantova, increasing the accessibility of the businesses companies located on the lakes. The realization of basins class Va on the Canal Po-Brondolo (E91, connecting the river Po in Chioggia and Venice), in parallel with the existing ones in class IV, named Cavanella D’Adige Destra , Sinistra and Brondolo Cavanella D’Adige, will ensure commercial navigation in class should also be on this stretch, without hindering the tourist navigation, which will continue to be fulfilled from the existing basins in Class IV.

The European Commission has for years been actively involved in the implementation of these objectives and aims at bolstering the advantages of inland waterway transport and remove various obstacles that prevent to use some opportunities. While inland navigation has experienced success, it is also true that in order to fully exploit the potential that it offers require overcoming several obstacles that block the full deployment of its potential. The goal of EU policy in the field of inland navigation is to ensure efficient and sustainable transport . The neighboring countries of the Union, however, must apply appropriate international conventions to ensure equivalence with the safety levels of inland navigation in the EU as well as with the environmental and social conditions existing there.

The interventions in recent years of the European Commission and representatives of the European institutions (Italian MEPs, DG Move) have confirmed the EU’s interest in the development of projects that go in the direction of increase the navigation on the river Po and inland waterways of northern Italy, with the aim of moving goods from road to water, trying to reduce traffic on the road and pollution. The specific project actions proposed so far, such as those aimed at making the Po navigable for 340 days a year to craft Va CEMT class and improve the waterway Fissero-Tartaro-Canalbianco, which connects Mantova to the Adriatic, have proved in being harmony with the guidelines carried out at European level.

On October 19 th , 2011 have been presented in Brussels the new guidelines of Trans-European transport networks TEN-T. The new lines TEN-T are placed four main objectives: to create a real network of mobility infrastructures, enhancing railways and navigation, and especially encouraging multi mode also through the dissemination of intelligent systems such as RIS. The new TEN-T network to provide two levels: the Core Network and the Comprehensive Network, whereas the second is the network of all Europe, and the first is the selection of its main parts to be achieved by 2030. The Core Network brings together 85 economic centers and their airports, 138 between sea and inland ports, 28 border points with third countries. The greater flows of goods and passengers will go throughout this area.

Until 2030 the EU will make disposable about € 500 billion, of which 250 within 2020. The European Union therefore shows to focus on a transport system that optimizes the flow and thus minimizes waste and negative externalities. Even representatives of the Italian waterway system are now called to take the challenge: some companies have been included in the core network and can therefore make use of European funds to co-finance works in the next twenty years.

The legislation

As for boating law must be taken into consideration 3 different levels but they are connected together.


European Corridors

On the international level there were two conventions (relating to increased use of two rivers in the past: the Rhine and Danube) placed in order to regulate the navigation on their two-way communication: Mannheim Convention 1868 which has been then modified and become Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) and Belgrade Convention 1948 among all the states flowed through the Danube. Community law has tried to adapt to the solutions offered by these two texts, and set transport in the European document about union at Title V from articles 70 to 80 and finally joined in 2008 at the Belgrade Convention requesting a modification of the text of ‘art. 71 (TEU). Should even be the EC directives on River Information Services (RIS), under construction in the system padano Venetian, and on technical requirements and safety (dangerous goods ADN) for inland waterway vessels that provide a frame information for all Community waterways, including the Rhine. The legislation put forward here is remarkable considering that the Waterway system of Northern Italy could be subjected to traffic coming from the river-sea coasts Slovenia and Croatia.

In national area is the Navigation Code in force , in which there is a common part with rules that fit both the maritime sphere than the internal and specific regulations attached to the Code,  dedicated to the administrative waterway. For areas of “gray” in those he seafarer is confused with the interior, such as the mouth of the Po, art. 24 there is a special regime for navigation promiscuous whereby the vessel, which shall enter into maritime waters has to observe the rules and is subject to the supervision of the competent institutions for sea and vice versa.

The last level, is regional one but it can also be provincial or municipal level in relation to the provisions considered it. Exist at the regional level a general discipline of navigation that is locally specified by various local authorities involved. Anyway it is a task of the Regione Lombardia to define the program of regional interventions on the demesne of inland waters and activate the potential of the waterway system of Northern Italy as part of integration with the maritime cabotage. In addition, the region defines the procedures for the ‘use, in order of inland navigation, the areas of the Po River and connected waterways and regulating navigation and issue the instructions regarding the use and the management of the state property of inland waters. The Province has its role to keep records of the vessel interior and certify the skills of professional traders waterway. In the end as it regards the hydraulic aspect of river Po, AIPO plays the connected activities which consist in the design and implementation of actions on water projects of the first, second and third category.

After a deep examination of the regulations on inland navigation, it has been revealed an overall lack of a strategic vision of the waterway system in regulatory and administrative system, and especially about the infrastructure interventions. The skills are often divided on various parts of the waterway system and do not interact, the regulations are little unit and lacks a comprehensive plan for development. One of the main problems concerns the skills and operations management in the river-sea, where the lack of integration is even more serious. Among the regulatory changes suggested, and these returned in the General Plan of the waterway system of Northern Italy, the one considered most important is the equating of navigation along the coast in to inland, thus avoiding the necessity of ‘use of maritime tug in addition to or instead pushers supplied, and also bypassing the problem of maritime cons. Another felt need concerns the removal of prescriptions distressing Inland ships incoming sea ports (eg. Cons, moorings, CO2 tax etc.), which favor the competitors rubber.

The agreement of regions

While implementing the General Transport Plan, the Law 380/90 has foreseen the construction of Waterway system of Northern Italy representing the fundamental rule on which takes base the current institutional set-up of the waterway system of Northern and integrates the DPR 616/78, which considers that the regions bordering the Po and on waterways connected, carrying the functions of common interest relating to inland navigation. In this framework, through an agreement amended several times, is since 1978 that the Intesa Interregional Internal Navigation, signed by the Veneto, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Piedmont, plays a coordination for the exercise of administrative functions in the field. The Legislative Decree of 31 March 1998 n. 112 subsequently transferred to the regions (Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto) the management of the waterway system.

The subjects involved in the realization of Waterway system of Northern Italy are then State, through the competent ministerial structure, and Regions Piemonte, Lombardia Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Emilia Romagna. The regions, therefore, arise such bodies actuators financed intervention and, in their capacity, as pointed out by ministerial decree, “are only responsible for the regularity of tendering, award, managing relationships with contractors, of ‘execution of the works, in pursuance of the provisions of the law 11 February 1994, n. 109 and Presidential Decree December 21, 1999, n. 554. And subsequent amendments, for any damage employees from the execution itself, as well as the proper and efficient management of the funds provided by the Ministry of Transport and Navigation. ”

Administrative functions in relation to the Po and the waterways connected are exercised by ‘Intesa Interregional inland navigation of the river Po and waterways connected. According to Art. 3 of the new agreement signed in 1999 by the four regions that are part of the cartel (Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto), the activity that the agreement plays consist:

  1. a) the purchase, construction, maintenance, repair and operation of means; b) mechanical and water needed for the best functionality of waterways; c) in the service signaling (and possibly piloting) and dredging of waterways, including the removal of materials submerged; d) in the maintenance, restoration and adaptation of the works of navigation on inland waterways; e) in the maneuver of navigation locks; f) in full service on the navigability of waterways; g) in the management and use of the radio network Po related to navigation; h) in the management of the works, facilities, vehicles, equipment, materials or other goods related to these services to other activities closely related to navigation; i) purchasing, supplies, contracts or other contracts relating to navigation; j) in hiring, discipline and management of the technical, administrative and operational need for the performance of these functions and activities; k) in the adoption of administrative measures necessary for the performance of these functions and activities; l) in administrative police on the waterway; m) in entertaining relationships with organizations and agencies that deal with inland waterways; n) in promotional initiatives for the development of navigation in inland waters, both commercial and recreational services; o) the organization of meetings and conferences relating to issues affecting the industry; p) in the conduct of studies, research, experimentation and design, as well as publications related to inland navigation; q) in the planning of measures relating to the creation of new works on the waterways of the waterways network operated in common; r) in the financing of costs relating to the above functions and activities.

The Intesa therefore arises in connection with the state administration to allocate annually, among the participants in the cartel, expertise and funds for inland navigation.