Projects PDM

Pro Danube Management prepares strategic projects in line with its priority topics. At the same time, it also takes part in transnational consortia dealing with topics relevant for the IWT sector such as energy efficiency, supply chain management, digitalization, port management.

Below you may find a selection of some of our most important projects.

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SUNDANSE - Developing Sustainable Sediment Solutions for the Danube River – Black  Sea System

Timeframe: 06/2024 – 06/2028

Co-funded by the European Union

The SUNDANSE consortium forms a strong collaboration between relevant stakeholders along the Danube River including river users, river authorities, and institutes providing knowledge on sediment quantity and quality as well as water quality and activities related to the Danube Basin Black Sea System. The consortium ensures an interdisciplinary approach to develop guidelines based on demonstrated solutions for sediment management, measures to restore sediment balance in the Danube River and to involve other regions in exploiting the project results to benefit their area.

SUNDANSE's Objectives:
  • Create a Sediment Management Handbook for the Danube River basin, including intervention strategies.
  • Develop and validate a Sediment Prediction Tool using measurement and monitoring to predict sediment transport and impacts better.
  • Enhance measurement and monitoring infrastructure to improve the accuracy of sediment quantity and quality data for management frameworks.
  • Test and validate sediment management solutions in three locations to improve sediment quantity and quality.
  • Assess the applicability of solutions to other regions and EU river basins, and create an Action Plan and Roadmap for their use.
  • Engage key stakeholders in European water and sediment management.
More information is available at

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Green Inland Ports - Study on Enabling Sustainable Management and Development of Inland Ports

Timeframe: 11/2022 – 11/2025

Funded by the European Union

Inland ports are an essential part of the EU’s transport infrastructure along the core Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). They are key to the EU’s connectivity, economy and regions, and will play a crucial role in the European Green Deal’s ambition to reduce transport emissions by 90% by 2050. In preparation for this, the European Commission has launched the Green Inland Ports Study. The study aims to support European inland ports to become zero-emission, sustainable hubs connecting Europe. The study assesses the environmental impact of ports on their surroundings, looks at the role of digitalisation in becoming more sustainable and identifies opportunities to adopt inland waterway transport for urban mobility and short-distance transport. These elements will form the basis for the development of a quality management system that monitors the environmental and sustainable performance of the ports. This system will be tested in a minimum of ten inland ports. 

More information is available at 

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MultiRELOAD - Port Solutions for Efficient, Effective and Sustainable Multimodality

Timeframe: 09/2022 – 09/2025

Funding programme: Horizon Europe

Inland ports are key for multimodal transport chains, for both continental and maritime transport. There are 225 inland ports in Europe, many of which act as key multi-modal logistics and economic hubs near urban nodes, providing mobility infrastructure and smart solutions for both passengers and freight.

MultiRELOAD enhances the collaboration between different freight nodes in Europe to jointly test innovations and create favourable market conditions for multimodal freight transport solutions. To this end, MultiRELOAD will demonstrate solutions in three Innovation Areas with specific aims by 2025, mirroring the measures of the EU’s Smart Mobility Strategy, as follows:

A) Smart multimodal logistics: facilitate a shift from road to rail & IWT of 5%;
B) Digital & Automated Multimodal Nodes and Corridors: increase operational efficiency by 20 % raise of handling capacity;
C) Innovative business models: leading to an average cost reduction of freight transport by 10%.

For a total of 36 months, the MultiRELOAD consortium comprising of ports, highly innovative technology, logistics and service providers, leading European research institutions and well-connected networks will cooperate intensely to facilitate significant modal shift to sustainable modes of transport, radical efficiency increase of supply chains and capacity-sharing (data, infrastructure, loading space, etc.) for all operators within the key Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) Rhine-Alpine and Rhine-Danube Corridors.

Duisport is internationally highly connected and acts as a role model and digital innovation trendsetter on the logistic supply chains worldwide. In MultiRELOAD, duisport together with the Ports of Vienna (AT) and Basel (CH) will lead the transition of inland ports towards carbon-neutrality by jointly testing, demonstrating, evaluating and rolling out highly innovative multimodal freight solutions in seven different demonstrations structured in the three thematic innovation areas named above. MultiRELOAD demonstrators will be set up, implemented and evaluated by regional consortia with port authorities, operators, supported by technology and service providers, and relevant research organizations. All MultiRELOAD innovations promise to significantly increase the flexibility, service visibility and reduce the average cost of freight transport on average by 10%.

MultiRELOAD’s innovative solutions will be developed further towards sound business plans & models, ready for a wide uptake, thus improving the overall market maturity. The two already existing business incubators startport in Duisburg and thinkport Vienna will provide business angel expertise for new services & start-ups developing smart multimodal solutions. Finally, a wealth of final customers (i.e. logistics service providers, freight forwarders and cargo owners) will be directly involved by means of the MultiRELOAD User Forum for the validation of innovations, thus ensuring the market-readiness of solutions. 

More information is available at 

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H2 meets H2O

Timeframe: 04/2022 – 03/2023

Funding programme: Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)

The aim of the exploratory project “H2 meets H2O” is to assess the feasibility and applicability of hydrogen supply along the Danube as logistics backbone from a technical, legal and socio-economic point of view. Therefore, based on a multimodal supply concept, from the production of hydrogen up to the end-users, the logistical basis for a subsequent R&D project with innovative pilot applications for inland waterway vessels, railways and trucks shall be created. 

A leaflet highlighting the core achievements of the project is available for download here.

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LASTING – Let’s go for Waterborne Transport Research - Broadening engagement and increasing impact

Timeframe: 01/2021 – 06/2024

Funding programme: Horizon 2020

Under the lead of Shipyards and maritime equipment association of Europe (SEA Europe), LASTING broadens the engagement of the broader waterborne transport sector in European RD&I activities, by developing a communication strategy and implementing a long-lasting communication campaign beyond the lifetime of the project, ultimately increasing stakeholder engagement in the sector and thereby increasing impact of European waterborne transport RD&I.

More information is available at:

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PLATINA3 – Platform for the implementation of a future inland navigation action programme

Timeframe: 01/2021 – 06/2023

Funding programme: Horizon 2020

PLATINA3 provides targeted coordination and support activities to promote Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) in Europe. PLATINA3 makes the bridge towards future research, innovation and implementation needs within IWT in Europe. A key objective is providing the knowledge base for the implementation of the EU Green Deal in view of further development of EC`s IWT action programme (NAIADES) towards 2030. PLATINA3 addresses priority topics for the success of IWT:

  1. integration & digitalisation of IWT in view of modal shift & synchromodality
  2. zero- emission, automated & climate resilient fleet
  3. skilled workforce anticipating to zero-emission & automation
  4. smart & climate resilient waterway and port infrastructure with clean energy hubs.

The platform is a catalyst for awareness, stakeholder engagement and uptake of outcomes from related national and European projects and initiatives. PLATINA3 consolidates their findings, assesses their impacts and gaps. Desk research and dialogues with experts and stakeholders lead subsequently to policy and R&D roadmaps and implementation plans. Interactive workshops and consultations are organised in 6 PLATINA Stage events.

More information is available at:

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PhysICAL – Physical Internet through Cooperative Austrian Logistics

Timeframe: 06/2020 – 04/2025

Funding programme: Mobility of the Future Programme of the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency

Under the lead of Fraunhofer Austria, seventeen partners are actively engaged in the PhysICAL project – “Physical Internet through Cooperative Austrian Logistics" - having the core objective to efficiently implement physical internet in cooperative logistics, using different types of smart technologies and applications.

The main strategic goal of PhysICAL is to demonstrate by 2024 that cooperative logistics brings economic benefits to shippers and the transport industry in Austria. Specifically, this goal relates to the reduction of transport costs expected in the framework of the foreseen four pilots which amounts of up to 10% (in pilot "Booking platform", pilot "Smart logistic", pilot "CEP last mile", pilot "Supply Chain 3.0") by:

  • Significant simplification and shortening of the intermodal booking process (up to 70% faster) through an open booking platform;
  • Increased rail competitiveness through the use of cooperatively used containers in the circulatory system (in the framework of the pilots KEP & wood logistics) and thus reduction of transport costs;
  • Reduced logistics process costs (up to 30%) by using the open platform and the containers;
  • Lower turnaround times (up to 50%) through improved planning within the framework of the open platform;
  • Reduced empty trips (up to 15%) through the use of the open platform and Supply Chain 3.0 approach as well as cooperative CEP delivery and smart wood logistics;
  • Improving the resilience of the entire network and thus the safety and quality of the transports through the digital twin;
  • Support in establishing fair competitive conditions in intermodal transport through equality and integration of all modes of transport;
  • Easy way for SMEs to participate in eCommerce through the global supply chain 3.0 pilot.
More information is available at:

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DIONYSUS – Integrating Danube Region into Smart and Sustainable Multimodal & Intermodal Transport Chains

Timeframe: 07/2020 – 12/2022

Funding programme: Interreg Danube Transnational Programme

The project’s overarching goal is to facilitate the integration of DR ports into multimodal and intermodal freight and passenger transport systems. To this end, a growing consensus recognizes the need for a smart and sustainable Danube port development planning together with an overall national transport infrastructure planning and regional economic development plans. The project will carry out a multi-layered assessment (the infrastructure layer, the transport market layer and the logistics & port services layer) across different levels of infrastructure planning and governance (local, national and regional) in line with Danube Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) market, trade (volume and structure) considerations and realities, with a particular focus on Danube port-related infrastructure needs. As a result, it will highlight, promote and carry out activities across levels of governance in line with relevant specific objectives of EU policies (Transport, TEN-T and Cohesion) in order to ensure scope and development priorities alignment among port planning, overall transport infrastructure planning and national plans for Regional Economic Development benefiting DR ports. Also, the project aims to further strengthen DR connectivity with the EU Eastern Partnership and with Black Sea riparian countries by addressing transport infrastructure connectivity. Ports digitalisation capabilities shall be assessed at the corridor level and dedicated measures proposed. Pro Danube Management GmbH is an active partner in the consortium, being involved in all project activities. 

The DIONYSUS project is co-funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI) under the Danube Transnational Programme and will run for 30 months (July 2020 – December 2022).  It will be implemented by a transnational consortium of 18 co-funded organisations and 8 associated strategic partners (ministries of transport, vessel operators and their associations, authorities, academia) from 9 Danube countries. The project has a total budget of 3,603,511.25 EUR, out of which ERDF contribution amounts 2,660,157.35 EUR, IPA contribution amounts 263,212.46 EUR & ENI contribution amounts 680,141.44 EUR.

More information is available at:


STEERER – Structuring Towards Zero Emission Waterborne Transport

Timeframe: 12/2019 – 11/2022

Funding programme: Horizon 2020

Considering the diversity of the sector, the geographical scope, the international dimension and the challenge to transform waterborne transport into a zero-emission mode of transport (including all possible types of emission), STEERER supports the development of a unified approach concerning the implementation of zero-emission technologies.

It brings together key actors to reach the zero-emission objective, builds consensus on the decrease of emissions towards 2050, and develops an ambitious research and innovation agenda, including an implementation plan. The cornerstone of the implementation plan is to secure that the transition towards zero-emission waterborne transport is economically viable and putting Europe as a world leader in the transition process.


  • Establishing a European Community jointly working towards zero-emission waterborne transport as part of the logistics chain, delivering clear commitment to reaching zero-emission transport by latest 2050 by:
    • reaching agreement on emission targets towards 2050;
    • developing a Research and Innovation Agenda, based on jointly agreed priorities;
    • designing an implementation plan consisting of business models, as well as supporting policies and regulations, ensuring European competitiveness regarding solutions for zero-emission waterborne transport.
  • Create and execute an awareness campaign on the importance of waterborne transport and its commitment to become a fully sustainable mode of transport.

More information is available at:

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COMPETING – Competence Based Education and Training for Inland Navigation

Timeframe: 01/2019 – 06/2022

Funding programme: ERASMUS +

COMPETING project paves the way for the introduction of competency based future proof education and training for inland navigation crew members throughout the European Union. Future certificates will be recognised throughout Europe. Sustainable solutions, automation and digitalisation as well as communication on a European level will be part of the education and training programmes. The utmost goal of the project is to increase labour mobility in the inland shipping sector. COMPETING is an Erasmus+ project.


  • Develop a European wide recognized and modern curricula and lesson materials for IWT,
  • Develop a quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) system to ensure the highest level of quality concerning the implementation of future proof IWT education and training throughout the EU,
  • Implementation of the EU legislation, resulting in a comparable system for recognition of educational programmes and properly qualified crew with the possession of a Union certificate.

Areas of action concerned:

  • Navigation,
  • Operation of the vessel,
  • Cargo handling, stowage and passenger transport,
  • Marine engineering and electrical, electronic and control engineering,
  • Maintenance and repair; communication; health and environmental protection.

More information is available at:

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W2GAS - Waste-To-Compost and Green Energy

Timeframe: 01/2020 – 12/2020

Funding programme: kit4market 

The project´s aim was to investigate implementation options for waste to biogas plants in Romania, based on innovative technologies and know-how originating from Austria.

  • The gained data, together with the analysis of opportunities for the use of the processed products, compost and the usage of biogas as fuel, provided information on possible technology exports.
  • Contributed to the improvement of the market position of Austrian companies in Romania to support commercial and international technology transfer.

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GREEN DANUBE - Integrated transnational policies and practical solutions for an environmentally-friendly Inland Water Transport system in the Danube region

Timeframe: 01/2017 – 06/2019

Funding programme: Interreg Danube Transnational Programme

Green Danube addresses major challenges in the Danube transport system and provides practical solutions to be used in subsequent emission reduction strategy and for further development of safer and low emission IWT as well as for the implementation of innovative green technologies. The project will focus on emission reductions from IWT in particular in ecologically sensitive areas such as the Danube Delta. The project aims to contribute to better integrated policies and practical solutions for further development of IWT while limiting its negative impacts on the Danube ecosystem.

Green Danube project is co-funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA) under the Danube Transnational Programme and will run for 30 months (January 2017 – June 2019). The project is implemented by a transnational consortium of 10 co-funded organisations and 6 associated strategic partners (public authorities, consulting companies, universities and NGOs) from 7 European countries (DE, AT, HU, RS, HR, RO, BG). The project has a total budget of 1.586.244 Euro, out of which ERDF contribution amounts 1.267.897,40 Euro & IPA contribution amounts 80.410 Euro.

For more information, please refer to the project's website:

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NOVIMAR - Novel IWT and maritime transport concepts

Timeframe: 06/2017 - 11/2021

Funding programme: Horizon 2020

NOVIMAR, a project funded under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, aims to adjust the waterborne transportation such that it can make optimal use of the existing short-sea and inland waterways vessels, while benefitting from a new system of operations that will expand the entire waterborne transport chain up and into the urban environment. A key element herein is the NOVIMAR approach to navigation using new command and control automation technology and new collaborative River Information Systems.

The project brings together 22 partners (universities, authorities, training centres, technology providers, port administrations, consulting companies) from both north-western Europe (Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany) and CEE Region (Austria, Hungary, Serbia).

For more information, please refer to the project's website:

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PROMINENT - Promoting innovation in the inland waterways transport sector

Timeframe: 05/2015 – 04/2018

Funding programme: Horizon 2020

PROMINENT, a project funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, addressed the key needs for technological development, as well as the barriers to innovation and greening in the European inland navigation sector. PROMINENT thereby is fully in line with the objectives of the European action programme NAIADES-II. PROMINENT is ultimately aimed at providing solutions which make inland navigation as competitive as road transport in terms of air pollutant emissions by 2020 and beyond. In parallel PROMINENT aimed to further decrease the energy consumption and carbon footprint of IWT, an area where IWT has already a strong advantage compared to road transport.

PROMINENT focused on: 

  • Massive transition towards efficient and clean vessels;
  • Certification and monitoring of emission performance and development of innovative regimes;
  • Harmonisation and modernisation of professional qualifications and the stimulation of the further integration of IWT into sustainable transport chains.

The PROMINENT partners have found broad support among political and commercial decision makers in the field of inland navigation. Through its direct access to relevant industrial stakeholders and Member States the consortium has obtained significant backup needed to perform the work. The commitment of these organisations will lead to a high acceptance and further dissemination of results.

For more information, please refer to the project's website:

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LNG Masterplan for Rhine-Main-Danube

Timeframe: 01/2013 – 12/2015

Funding programme: TEN-T

The LNG Masterplan for Rhine-Main-Danube is a project initiative filed in the TEN-T MAP Call 2012. The action addressed Priority Project Nr. 18 “Waterway axis Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube” of the TEN T network. It provided a European strategy and pilot deployments for Liquefied Natural gas (LNG) as fuel for inland vessels as well as for LNG as cargo being transported on waterways and distributed via inland ports. The action consisted of a set of feasibility studies, technical concepts, technical trials and pilot deployments of vessels and terminals. It was a multi-partner application of 33 companies and organisations from 12 EU Member States and ran between 2013-2015. The project volume eligible for EU co-finance amounts to app. 34 Mio € (out of which 19.28 Mio € were dedicated to pilot activities).

The LNG Masterplan provided a platform for key stakeholders from the public and private sector for the facilitation of parallel development of the necessary regulatory framework for LNG as vessel fuel and as cargo and delivered initial deployment in terminal and vessel infrastructure.

The project investigated the benefits of implementing LNG as fuel and as cargo for the Danube fleet and identify obstacles and costs. It developed a comprehensive strategy together with a detailed master plan for the necessary implementation steps.

Further details on the project are available on the project website: