European Union projects

DBS Gateway Region project aims at supporting the Danube-Black Sea region to become an attractive gateway region for maritime and inland waterway transport between Central Europe and the Black Sea, the Caspian region and the Far East by facilitating the cooperation within and with the region and its actors. The joint effort shall improve accessibility of both the ports and the regions and strengthen interoperability between maritime and inland waterways as well as with their hinterland. Together with raising the awareness of the possibilities of intermodal transport, this will lead to shifting existing and attracting new cargo flows to environmentally friendly transport systems.

At present, aging infrastructure and inefficient, non-transparent intermodal services limit the potential of the water transport system. The project is built upon the belief that the cooperation of public authorities, ports and their related associations is the key success factor in order to raise quality, reliability and efficiency of the waterway transport system.

Cooperation in itself will not yet lead to the envisaged results. It needs to be elevated on a well-informed (Potential Analysis, Road Map), well-prepared (list of projects ready to be implemented, Funding Guideline), well-focused (Joint Vision, Joint Cooperation Strategy) and well-supported (Cooperation Platform beyond the lifetime of the project) level.

The specific objectives of the project accommodate this fact:

  • The project aims at creating a basis for cooperation between the relevant stakeholders in order to be able to work together towards the development of the DBS Gateway Region.
  • Through increased attractiveness of the waterway transport system, it aims at providing the preconditions for the region to take over the envisaged role as DBS Gateway Region.
  • In order to be able to further develop and actively promote the DBS Gateway Region beyond the lifetime of the project, the project aims at facilitating long-term cooperation of all key actors within an institutionalised Cooperation Platform.


The complex challenges of the project require a multidisciplinary approach. The project’s core workgroup is made up of partners who ensure the involvement of the public sector (cities, regions and ministries), the involvement of the ports and their associations, and the involvement of a scientific university in the development. They connect those key players who work together for a DBS Gateway Region with improved transport relations. In favour of a co-operation and for the commitment to a common vision, the project offers opportunities for the active involvement of stakeholders through various regional workshops and through forums providing feedback.

The methodology includes both a bottom-up and a top-down approach at the same time:

  • The project is fundamentally built bottom-up, thus ensuring that all existing information is used and that the regional needs are met: the project utilizes all available sources of information, including researches, studies and statistics based on previous analyses, while placing a strong emphasis on intensively involving the stakeholders.
  • The common vision – expressed in line with the common challenges and development requirements – places the importance of the entire DBS Gateway Region on an international level. The so-called “Roadmap" is a document of international importance (using existing plans and policies) which aims to identify the measures required to achieve the common vision.
  • The third step follows the top-down approach and places the “roadmap" on a regional level, stimulating the local commitment by breaking down the measures of international level into specific local tasks (regional action plans).

A collaborative platform will be set up in parallel with the activities above, involving all the partners participating in the project. The approach applied in the project ensures that the platform has a clear common vision, a common strategy and a common implementation timetable, which are accepted and supported by all stakeholders.

Project partners

The partnership consists of 10 partners with budgets and of 20 associate strategic partners, covering all countries along the Danube.

The partnership involves not only the ports and their related organizations, but also national, regional and local authorities, who have an important role in integrating the project recommendations into their local, regional and international policies as well. The project considers the ports as dominant hubs for water and land transport within the region.

The innovative aim of the partnership is to act as an umbrella above all stakeholders. Each representative of the regions covered by the project is a project partner with a budget. Their role is to involve associate partners from the given region, to gather feedback from them and to make a report to the project’s core workgroup – thus ensuring the involvement of all stakeholders in the whole the project.

Associate partners


  • Bayernhafen GmbH & Co



  • ecoplus. Lower-Austrian Economy Promotion Agency
  • Port of Vienna
  • Urban Development and Planning Department of Vienna
  • The Austrian Association of Cities and Towns
  • Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology
  • Danube Region Working Group



  • Municipality of Bratislava Region



  • Hungarian Federation of Danube Ports
  • Associate of Hungarian Logistics Service Centers
  • Ministry of National Development



  • Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure
  • Port of Vukovar



  • Port of Novi Sad
  • Autonomous Province of Vojvodina



  • Port of Varna
  • Ministry of Transport, Information and Communication



  • Galati River Administration of the Lower Danube



  • Ministry of Transport and Road Infrastructure
  • Authority of Ukrainian Seaports (Authority of Izmail Seaports)

Lead Partner

Provincial Government of Lower Austria

Landhaus 1, Haus 16, 3109 St. Pölten, Austria

Contact persons

Mr Christian Popp

+43 2742 9005 900

Ms Christina Narval

+43 680 4066661

Project parners on the map:

  • Provincial Government of Lower Austria (AT)
  • TINA Vienna GmbH (AT)
  • Public Ports (SK)
  • Freeport of Budapest Logistics Zrt. (HU)
  • Municipality of Galati (RO)
  • Port Authority of Vukovar (HR)
  • University of Novi Sad (RS)
  • Bulgarian Ports Infrastructure Association (BG)
  • Municipality of Varna (BG)
  • Municipality of Burgas (BG)

Project co-funded by the European Union

The project is implemented by the Danube Transnational Programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and co-financed by the European Union and the Hungarian State.

Project TalkNET has been created to facilitate sustainable transport. Its name is made up of the initials of the Transport And Logistics Stakeholders Network – an acronym that suggests the importance of conversation which is essential for the effective co-operation between transport operators. The initiative, with a total of 15 project members, focuses on improving coordination between the operators in order to facilitate integration between ports / land terminals and carriers, and to strengthen the efficient and sustainable multimodal logistics hubs. The efficiency and connections of the multimodal hubs, as well as the eco-innovative solutions will be examined throughout the duration of the project. The project serves for improving the competitiveness of freight traffic, supports the investments in terminal management efficiency, in new intermodal services, last mile connections, as well as investments in the usage of alternative fuels and in energy efficient solutions. The approach is innovative, it focuses on optimizing existing infrastructures, it does not plan new ones and it also implements the elaboration of common solutions in a close cooperation with freight operators.

The duration of the project is 36 months from June 2017.

Three professional work packages

During the three years of the project, the emerging tasks are carried out by the project members on an annual basis and the selected project member is responsible for the coordinated and efficient implementation of each work package.

The first task is to analyse the terminals and the ports, and to make proposals for their development. Within the project team, the staff of the Italian Consorzio ZAILOG is responsible for carrying out the task. The main focal points during the implementation of the task are:

  1. connections to major transport networks, in particular to the TEN-T core network and to the comprehensive network,
  2. operational and logistics management system of the terminal,
  3. through a special SWOT analysis at a regional level, the partners evaluate both their internal and external processes in order to identify the needs, the challenges and to improve their procedures. Based on a common methodology defined at the project level, the analyses address 3 topics:
  4. the last mile connections of the multimodal hubs, focusing on the efficiency of the multimodal hub, resolving the bottlenecks that limit the operational capacity of the hub (infrastructure),
  5. the efficiency and optimization of the multimodal terminals (management),
  6. the evaluation of the multimodal services (services).

The partner responsible for the second work package is the Polish shipping and logistics company Codognotto Poland.

The logistic hubs and ports are often characterized by the use of old technologies which are not in accord with the standards, and which may lead, inter alia, to adverse environmental impacts. The absence of modernization is due to high capital requirements and long payback times. Only a few investments and factual results have been made in the recent years. The elaboration of the second work package will allow logistic hubs and key players to perfect their “green" plan. Its purpose is the better assessment and evaluation of the investments required for the application of alternative fuels (electric, LNG/CNG, hybrid) and to better define the plans which aim to reduce energy consumption and to demonstrate innovation. On the basis of a common methodology defined at project level, a SWOT analysis will first be made about the three topics related to eco-innovation solution:

  1. the application of alternative fuels,
  2. energy efficient solutions for the traffic between intermodal hubs,
  3. analysing the training requirements and defining the training process.

In the first two work packages, BSZL has prepared studies related to the port, which aimed at applying new solutions to port logistics and to the supply chain in urban areas.

The third module is performed under Hungarian coordination, led by the Freeport of Budapest Zrt. Based on the suggestions developed in the researches of the first two work packages, the different logistics-related and so-called “pilot" projects will be implemented in this work package, focusing on the storage/use of LNG in ports in the case of BSZL.

Project co-funded by the European Union

The project is implemented by the INTERREG CENTRAL Transnational Programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and co-financed by the European Union and the Hungarian State.

The Orient/East-Med TEN-T corridor connects central and south-east Europe. A crucial bottleneck of emerging relevance is the Dresden-Prague section, which needs to be extended by a new railway line to improve the connectivity between German seaports and destinations in particular in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

The detailed planning process of the new railway line will start in 2018 and is expected to be finalised by 2023. To capitalise on the opportunities of the infrastructure investment for multi-modal environmentally friendly freight, the CORCAP project aims to realise activities for a better coordination of stakeholders in the field of transport and spatial planning. This will contribute to the creation of more efficient rail freight transport in central Europe.

To this end, the partners will develop “Corridor Capitalisation Plans” to facilitate the interaction of regional development and transport infrastructure development in the participating regions. Considering operational requirements of multimodal logistics locations and transport services, these plans add value to all TEN-T corridors. Additionally, practical steps towards more sustainable freight transport will be taken through quality improvements and better use of existing infrastructure. By improving the connectivity of intermodal hubs and inland ports and the investigation of new intermodal services, tangible benefits for more efficient freight transport will be delivered.

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