“25 years of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal are a success story”

The artificial waterway is of great importance for the Austrian Danube ports of Linz, Ennshafen, Krems and Vienna

“25 years of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal are a success story”

After more than 30 years of construction, the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal (RMD-Kanal) went into operation on 25th September 1992 in Bavaria. This 170 kilometer artificial waterway connects the rivers Main at Bamberg and Danube near Kehlheim. The RMD allows access for passenger and freight ships to a 3,500-kilometer long inland waterway through 15 European countries from the North Sea to the Black Sea.

On the occasion of his 25th birthday this year, Hubert Mierka, Managing Director of Mierka Donauhafen Krems GmbH & Co KG, highlights the importance of the RMD channel for the four Austrian Danube ports of Linz, Ennshafen, Krems and Vienna. “The canal is of crucial importance for our inland transhipment because it is connected directly to the large ocean ports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Antwerp,” he says. The “Stadtf Würzburg” – the very first cargo ship that passed the RMD canal in 1992 – called in the Krems harbor.

Each year, the RMD channel records an average of 6.7 million tonnes of goods – almost 9 million tonnes at peak level. Thus the original expectations before construction were clearly exceeded. The channel is part of the European waterway network, particularly for the transport of bulk goods such as food and feed (28% share of the mix of goods in 2016), fertilizers (16%), agricultural and forestry products (15%) and iron, steel and other metals (12%), played an important role.

The RMD channel not only benefits the transport industry, but also tourism. The artificial waterway contributes to the boom of river cruises on the Rhine and the Danube. In the year 2010, 657 passenger cabin passages were counted on the RMD channel, nearly twice as many were counted in 2016 with 1,272.