The Dutch Government has signed an agreement with the representatives of the country’s inland shipping industry for reducing emissions from the sector.

The newly signed Declaration of Nijmegen aims to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the inland shipping sector by 20% over the next 12 years.

It also seeks to make the sector competitive with the road and rail transport industries in terms of reducing emissions.

Netherlands Infrastructure and Water Management Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen said: “Inland shipping has a substantial lead if you compare its CO2 emissions to those of trucks and trains.

“A vessel gives some 40 years of service, whereas trucks are obsolete after no more than six or seven years.

“This means that the sector has no time to lose with respect to its transition to new, cleaner technology. The Declaration of Nijmegen constitutes a fine point of departure to this end.”

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“The sector intends to reduce the emissions to a maximum of 1.7t by 2030.”

The Declaration of Nijmegen has been initiated by Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, in partnership with the European Green Capital of Nijmegen, as well as various government bodies, port authorities, logistics companies, and shippers.

Netherlands’ inland shipping sector is currently estimated to release around 2.1t per annum of CO2, and, with the new deal, the sector intends to reduce the emissions to a maximum of 1.7t by 2030.

The proposed savings will be equal to the CO2 emitted by nearly 50,000 households.

The target is also expected to feature in the Climate and Energy Agreement and is set to help the inland shipping sector become climate-neutral by 2050.

The Declaration of Nijmegen also outlines a three-step plan for its participants. The plan includes feasibility studies and demonstrations that will serve as the basis for practical pilot projects, which will be upscaled in step three.