The Danube never takes a break. The same must therefore also apply to its development as a waterway. While the RIS-COMEX follow-up project COMEX2 got off the starting blocks this autumn, DIWA (Masterplan Digitalisation of Inland Waterways), which was launched in 2019, crossed the finish line at almost the same time. The focus of the EU co-financed DIWA project was the eponymous master plan including a roadmap for the development and implementation of harmonised digitalised inland waterway transport. Due to the many commonalities between the two projects, the completion of one and the start of the other were celebrated at a joint event in Amsterdam on 21 and 22 November. Following the successful handover of the baton, numerous successes and results of DIWA will be evaluated and continued in COMEX2.
The centrepiece of DIWA – the master plan for the digitalisation of inland navigation – was developed in partnership by the countries of Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Germany and France. After four years of project duration and intensive joint development work, the project can present an impressive amount of achievements: 14 studies prepared as part of DIWA are dedicated to the most diverse aspects and requirements for the consistent harmonised digitalisation of inland navigation in Europe – regarding administrative coordination and standardisation as well as synchromodality and resilience, permanently networked information services and real-time information and communication. 92 detailed measures form the basis of the master plan to lead the development of River Information Services (RIS) into the future and concern the decision-making and responsibility areas of waterway administrations and authorities as well as river commissions and the European Union. In this way, shipping operators will ultimately be provided with accurate information on traffic management, transport modalities, available infrastructure and – via EuRIS, which emerged from RIS COMEX – the most up-to-date and optimally reusable waterway data for all processes involved in their transport operations. As COMEX2 has also set itself the goal of further improving the quality of use of the waterway, the first step of the new project will be to further process and utilise results from DIWA. In this way, the modernisation course on the waterway will be confidently continued across projects and countries – in line with the DIWA motto: "Navigating the Future".