Inland freight shipping is an essential building block for a successful transport turnaround in logistics. While the road and rail networks are overloaded, cargo ships transport considerable quantities of raw materials and heavy goods on Europe’s waterways – literally indispensable for entire branches of industry in Germany.
The current plans of the traffic light coalition to tax inland waterway diesel would have dramatic consequences, as with agricultural diesel. They would not lead to any improvement in the revenue situation for the 2024 budget; the changes would take effect from 2025 at the earliest due to existing agreements.
The fact is that Germany would further isolate itself in Europe with this national solo effort and its competitiveness would decline even faster and further. “Fill up once, please” would then be the motto for inland waterway skippers who “bunker” their fuel more cheaply in the Netherlands instead of in Germany. The bottom line for the climate would be zero.
And the significantly rising costs? The customers would have to bear these costs first, for example agricultural companies who, for good reasons, have their grain transported by water instead of by road to reduce CO2 emissions and costs. Jobs in inland shipping would be lost as a result of cost-cutting measures. At the end of the chain, however, the end consumer would foot the bill. In addition to agricultural diesel, inland shipping diesel would also eat directly into consumers’ wallets.
We at MSG are happy to work responsibly towards a more sustainable future for waterway logistics. Just this year, we invested heavily in solar energy systems at our sites and a seven-figure sum in the most modern bunker station (refuelling facility) in Europe, where the latest fuels are already being used. But what use is this if such investments are reduced to absurdity because hectic emergency plans are to come into force that are neither economically sensible nor well thought out from a European perspective – and not even ecologically profitable.
Traffic lights are there to regulate the flow of traffic. So that everyone gets along well. With respect, some traffic lights in this country just seem to blink. The MSG shows solidarity with farmers in Germany – and is in favour of reconsidering the taxation of agricultural diesel and inland waterway diesel.