GRENDEL – successful project kick-off meeting in Constanta

The Kick-off meeting of the project GRENDEL – Green and efficient Danube Fleet took place in Constanta on 30 August 2018 gathering representatives from Danube fleet operators, its associations, relevant ministries, expert institutions and academia from all targeted Danube countries.

Despite the holiday season in Mamaia (Constanta, Romania), which is a famous summer destination at the Black Sea, the GRENDEL Consortium and the external participants started the first major project in the Danube region focusing on the modernisation of the Danube fleet.

Port of Constanta. Copyright: CCNRThe location of the kick-off meeting was selected on purpose: Romania has the biggest inland vessels fleet in the Danube region and the Port of Constanta is the biggest maritime port directly connected to the Danube River.

The kick-off meeting was the launching event of the GRENDEL project funded by the European Union in the INTERREG/Danube Transnational Programme (DTP) aiming to improve the environmental and economic performance of the Danube fleet and to achieve a higher acceptance and use of inland waterway transport (IWT) as an environmentally friendly transport mode. The project addresses all Danube countries from Germany to Romania.

GRENDEL Kick off. Copyright: GRENDELThe participants had the opportunity to discuss the project objectives, expected results and planning. Very interesting debates about the development of a strategy to modernise the Danube fleet and related finance support measures were held. Mr Seitz from Pro Danube International introduced the GRENDEL – approach to support the participating ministries to develop and implement national public funding schemes and targeted financial incentives for modernising the fleet and for fostering highly skilled human resource availability in the IWT sector.

Three important vessel operators (NAVROM, FLUVIUS and DANUBIA Kreuzfahrten) presented their first ideas concerning an advanced vessels concept they will elaborate as part of the project in order to prepare later implementation with the help of the planned grant schemes. These conceptual designs shall also serve as good practices for other fleet operators addressing most urgent greening and modernisations aspects and making use of innovative technologies.

Ms Laure Roux (CCNR), Mr Manfred Seitz (Pro Danube) and Ms Lucia Luijten (Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management). Copyright: CCNRSpecial guests from Western Europe dealing with the inland vessels modernisation and preparation of financing measures joined the event. Ms Lucia Luijten from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management referred to the ambitious Dutch goals of EU towards zero emission in 2050 and the COP21 meeting in Paris 2015 aiming to become “Climate neutral in 2050” as inland navigation sector. She pointed to the limited progress in the IWT sector due to its specifics like long lifetime of vessels or missing business cases for greening. She stressed the need for joint private – public initiative to establish a “greening fund” in Europe in order to address the most problematic investment barriers namely need of funding and financing. This is where GRENDEL will create a link between the Danube and Western Europe stakeholders in terms of preparing recommendations for innovative financing instruments in the Danube region in addition to the elaborated model State Aid Scheme.

Ms Laure Roux from the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine reported on the CCNR activities concerning the inland vessels modernisation. She emphasised that in order to make the “greening of the fleet a reality, funding and financing solutions must be found and change in technology must be made”. She informed about the recent initiatives started under the umbrella of CCNR bringing its member states representatives and sector together to address the topic on financing the greening of the fleet.

Ms Ana Leganel (GRENDEL project manager at the Joint Secretariat of the Danube Transnational Programme). Copyright: GRENDELMs Ana Leganel who is the GRENDEL project manager at the Joint Secretariat of the Danube Transnational Programme, pointed out that GRENDEL is part of a comprehensive initiative: GRENDEL through the synergies created with other DTP funded projects DANTE (aiming at elimination of administrative barriers) and DAPhNE (facilitating a balanced development of Danube Ports) supports the implementation of the “Green Deal for Danube river transport”. The Green Deal forms a new policy and business framework developed by Pro Danube International to improve efficiency and environmental performance of Danube waterway transport system. Each of the mentioned project addresses a different Danube inland navigation challenge. Together they help to achieve a win-win situation for both the public administrations and the private inland navigation sector. Ms Leganel concluded with wishes of “a smooth and successful implementation of the project” since successful projects make the programme successful as well.



The GRENDEL project is co-funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA) under the Danube Transnational Programme and will run for 30 months (June 2018 – November 2020). It will be implemented by a transnational consortium of 13 co-funded organisations and 10 associated strategic partners (ministries of transport, vessel operators and their associations, authorities) from 7 Danube countries.

Social media about the event