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Motorways of the Sea

The “motorways of the sea” concept aims at introducing new intermodal maritime-based logistics chains in Europe, which should bring about a structural change in our transport organisation within the next years to come.

These chains will be more sustainable, and should be commercially more efficient, than road-only transport. Motorways of the sea will thus improve access to markets throughout Europe, and bring relief to our over-stretched European road system. For this purpose, fuller use will have to be made not only of our maritime transport resources, but also of our potential in rail and inland waterway, as part of an integrated transport chain. This is the Community added-value of motorways of the sea..

In its Transport White Paper of September 2001, the Commission proposed the development of “Motorways of the Sea” as a “real competitive alternative to land transport.” To help these lines develop, the White Paper states that European funds should be made available. These "motorways of the sea" should be part of the Trans-European network (TEN-T).

Article 12a TEN-T gives three main objectives for the sea motorways projects:

(1) freight flow concentration on sea-based logistical routes;

(2) increasing cohesion;

(3) reducing road congestion through modal shift.

You may find more details in TEN -T Section

Our Shortsea Promotion Center is a member of European Shortsea Network