Following its role as infrastructure company, viadonau actively strives to increase the competitiveness of Danube navigation through targeted measures, thus strengthening Austria as a business location. Together with national and international partners, viadonau is working towards an increase in use and the modernization of Danube navigation and perceives itself as a strong partner of the Austrian business sector.

The thematic focus of this project on high & heavy transports (H&H) is based on a regular market observation and in close cooperation with stakeholders from the Danube logistics sector and the industry. Especially during the last years, this cargo group seems to offer very high potential for Danube Navigation.

Compared to the transport via roads, shipping of high & heavy cargo via inland vessels offers several advantages. Due to the great cargo hold and the high transport capacity offered by a Danube vessel, break bulk like power transformers, construction machinery and cranes, big tanks and other construction parts can be transported by ship and do not need to be shipped as an oversize-transport. A shift of these transports from road to the more environmentally-friendly inland navigation would in most cases not only substitute the loaded run, but also the needed accompanying transport security and in some cases the empty run back.

This project aims to analyse and define critical success factors and restraints for high & heavy transports via inland vessel to establish necessary activities in cooperation with experts from the sector. This should force the shift of transports towards inland navigation.

Based on the collected findings from the project (as well as from other completed projects in the past) a catalogue of recommended measures is created, which should force the transport via Danube on national and international level. The recommended measures will be discussed with other relevant national authorities to consolidate and transform them into a joint catalogue of actions supporting an efficient and ecological transport system.

News and project status

The draft strategy prepared in 2019: "Strategy for shifting high & heavy transports to the Danube" was reviewed in 2020 in various working groups and further bilateral meetings since 2020. A wide range of stakeholders and authorities were represented in the meetings. This allowed all stakeholders to present their own views on how best to achieve a shift from road to inland navigation. In addition to the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, ASFINAG and the provincial authorities for the approval of special road transports, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ) and business representatives were also involved.

The final roadmap including all bundles of measures should be available by the end of 2022. At the same time, however, the implementation of individual measures has already begun. One of these measures is already particularly far advanced and will gain further momentum this year: Since 1 January 2022, inland waterways must be used for particularly heavy, wide and high transports that follow the Danube corridor across borders. This shift is an important first step towards reducing climate-damaging emissions, relieving the road infrastructure and increasing road safety.

At the same time, the folder "High & Heavy- Transporte mit dem Binnenschiff" (High & Heavy transports by inland vessel) was completed and enclosed with the magazine "Der österreichische Transporteur" (Nov. issue). The brochure was thus distributed to the majority of Austrian shippers. In addition, it was sent to the participants of the working groups, the interview partners of the surveys and many other interested parties. This folder is publicly available for download.


The project makes a substantial contribution to the implementation of measure 
11. Develop transports on the Danube further of the Action Programme for the Danube 2022.