Date of Award
Master of Science in Maritime Affairs
General Maritime Administration & Environment Protection
his dissertation tries to analyse the importance of a major waterway transport that is the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor, both for Romania and the Danube’s riparian countries. Made up through the connection of two major European rivers, the Danube and the Rhine, the corridor connects not only two seas - the North Sea and the Black Sea - but also the two halves of Europe, the West and the East. In the past, the Danube has connected the eastern Europe with some of the western countries - Germany and Austria - but the political and economical systems’ differences have prevented the development of closer connections across the -Iron Curtain. Now, with the curtain no more in place and with the corridor’s access to the Rhine and the port of Rotterdam, this water highway has a great future to becoming the main transport artery of Europe. The analysis has been concentrated more on legislative and technical aspects than economic ones. On one hand, the statistical system of the former communist countries is still under construction and economic data is generally difficult to access. On the other hand, due to the Yugoslavian conflict, the traffic along the Danube has come to a halt between 1990 and 1995. As is well known, the United Nation Organisation imposed an embargo against the former Yugoslavia, which in retaliation, blocked the Danube along its border. The dissertation is structured into two parts. The first one concerns the subject from the Romanian perspective, assessing its economic framework and the transport sector reforms. It also analyses the role of the main port, Constantza situated at one end of the corridor and the Rhine-Main-Danube waterway characteristics. We also considered important to have a look into the European harrnonising tendencies, concerning internal waterways, with an accent on the Danube. The second part analyses the corridor from a European perspective. That is why we went through the European inland waterway network and its classification and the development of the transport infrastructure in Europe. We also made a parallel between technical and navigational rules along Rhine and Danube as well as a legislative comparison between the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor’s main Conventions. It is a fact that European Union has back-up policy against the inland waterway transport. That is why we analysed the regional co-operation and overall integration in Europe, the role of Economic and Technical Research and the European Union's Transport Policy. We also made a brief assessment of the various modes of transport along the corridor, such as the passengers, containers, and combined transport. The European transport policy is oriented not only toward efficiency but also toward environment conservation. This is why we collected data conceming levels of traffic on various modes of transport and their influence upon the environment. The conclusion is clear that the waterway transport is a clear winner in the environmental race. We may conclude that the transport corridor, even if not totally permissive, due to legislative and technical problems and differences, has an important role to play within the future transport network of Europe. Romania, with its southern border constituted by the Danube and with an increasing role among the Black Sea countries has the right position and capabilities, to becoming an important hub for the European - Asian trade.