Maritime shipping via Nemunas to be renewed by 2024

Today, during his visit in Kaunas, Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis discussed the issue of reviving inland waterways with the directorate of the Lithuanian Inland Waterways Authority and expressed his aim of fully adapting the country’s longest river for tourists and cargo barges by 2024. While implementing an eco-friendly transport system, the quantity of goods transported via Nemunas could increase up to 100 thousand tonnes per year.

“Adapting Nemunas for maritime transport, including cargo shipping, recreational maritime activities and tourism, is one of the main priorities in the area of inland waterway transport. The growing potential of maritime activities can be observed not only in Kaunas, the port city or the rise of Nemunas, but also in the whole country, so we will continue making effort to develop an efficient inland waterway transport infrastructure and the necessary ports and wharfs,” says Minister Skuodis.

According to the Minister, the waterway modernisation project currently in progress is a turning point for improving the conditions for maritime activities in Nemunas. Once the project is completed, at least 500 new or renovated hydrotechnical structures – dams will regulate the flow and depth of the 225-kilometre-long river. The Inland Waterways Authority is building a barge of an 1800 tonne deadweight capacity able to transport cargo that equals 80-90 trailers.

The Minister says that in two years, cargo, passenger and recreational ships will be able to conveniently navigate Nemunas up to Kuršių Marios, and maritime activities will be carried out throughout the whole year. All kinds of large and heavy cargo could be transported via the river: containers, timber, reinforced concrete products, rubble and grains.

According to the Minister, maritime transport is an eco-friendly alternative to land transport, convenient with regard to environment protection, safety and economy. Transporting cargo using waterway transport is several times cheaper than using road transport. A standard truck transports around 25 t of cargo, while a barge with a 1000 t capacity transports 40 times more cargo.

“The waterway via Nemunas has great prospects for development. While implementing an eco-friendly transport system, the quantity of cargo transported via Nemunas could increase up to 100 thousand tonnes per year by 2024,” noted M. Skuodis.

In order to connect the whole 500-kilometre stretch of Nemunas throughout Lithuania and the border area with Belarus and Kaliningrad Oblast, a long-term programme for the renewal of maritime activities in Nemunas is being prepared.

Pranešimą paskelbė: Žydrūnė Tursaitė, LR Susisiekimo ministerija

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