Fit the ships to the river
Instead of wasting all effort and money into irreversible river regulation, the approaches and measures for promoting navigation on the Danube should include:
- Comprehensive planning for the whole river basin: planning navigation by considering not only economic, but also environmental and social aspects, and planning it in the context of the overall river basin management, where the needs of all uses of the river are properly taken into account - not only navigation, but also tourism, fisheries, water supply, irrigantion, as well as ecological needs;
- A basin-wide strategic environmental assessment of navigation plans, where different alternatives are considered;
- Ship technologies that enable navigation to adapt to the conditions of the river: shallow draught inland vessels, interchangeable containers, new ship propulsion technologies, hull shape that reduces wave wash and thus impacts;
- Better river information services for the management of the traffic (telematic systems and information services; the inclusion of regular sounding of the riverbed at bottlenecks and updating of online maps made available for the ships);
- Well-functioning inter-modal facilities and logistic centres: even if the river was deepened and regulated, the navigation would not increase much if possibilities for connecting shipping with other modes of transport are not improved.