Roadmaps and inception impact assessments describe the scope, purpose and timing of new laws and policies and set out plans for evaluations of existing laws. In addition, Inception Impact Assessments aim to inform citizens and stakeholders about the Commission’s plans in order to allow them to provide feedback on the intended initiative and to participate effectively in future consultation activities.

The impact assessment in question is called “Digital tools for inland waterway transport” and strongly focuses on the role of digitalisation as a mean to facilitate the flow of information.

The problem the initiative aims to tackle is mostly document-related, with direct impact on economic and social aspects. The majority of documents related to crew members or the vessels exist mainly in paper format in the inland waterway transport (IWT) sector. Public authorities, shippers and crew members face high costs, notably administrative and enforcement costs, to comply with IWT legislation, resulting in inefficiency, deterioration of working conditions and decrease of human and capital resources for controlling capacity and risk for safety of navigation. Ultimately, these represent an obstacle for the competitiveness of the IWT sector and its better integration in the value chain.

“Digital tools for inland waterway transport” aims at developing digital tools to facilitate compliance and enforcement of IWT legislation and the Commission has identified a set of possible actions to addressing the issues:

  • Setting up a digital environment in which the barge operator maintains data regarding the vessel, the crew and the voyage and interfaces with public authorities as per the regulatory requirements (i.e. for reporting and law enforcement purposes), exchanging data on the crew and the vessel certificates and dynamically updating data regarding the journey, crewing, navigation time (electronic SRBs and logbooks), working and rest time, etc.
  • Extending the EU central databases (e.g. database on professional qualifications and European Hull database)
  • Supporting standardisation efforts by business and other stakeholder organisations in the field of digital tools and in particular for on-board equipment.

This set of measures is likely to have the following impacts:

  • Sectoral competitiveness
  • Technological development / Digital economy (reduction of paper, hence, positive impact on the environment, simplification and/or administrative burden)
  • Impacts on SMEs (the IWT sector is dominated by SMEs and micro-enterprises)
  • Internal market and cross-border operations
  • More favourable employment and working conditions
  • Impacts on fundamental rights (data protection). The impact assessment will address in this context issues such as data security, governance and access.

The consultation of citizens and stakeholders is a fundamental part of the impact assessment, providing the IWT stakeholders and the wider public with the opportunity to express their views on all elements covered by the impact assessment, as well as to gather specialised input. An open and targeted consultation will be conducted in 2018 and will be opened for at least 12 weeks. More information about this participation can be found on DG MOVE’s consultation webpage  and on the Contribute to Law-making page.