(L-R) Ambassador Philippe Voiry; François Bausch, Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Mobility Minister; State Secretary Oliver Luksic; Ambassador Dr Heike Peitsch; Credit: MMTP

Luxembourg's Ministry of Mobility and Public Works has reported that shipping duties for traffic on the Moselle river are set to be scrapped from July 2025.

A toll payment system has been in place since the inauguration of the Moselle wide-gauge waterway in 1964. This system is based on the Moselle Convention of 1956, in which Germany, France and Luxembourg decided to develop the river from Koblenz to Thionville with dams and to finance the construction and maintenance costs through navigation taxes.

These shipping duties are now due to end on 1 July 2025. The ministry noted that the subsequent construction of the second lock chambers on the Moselle in Germany will not be affected. This measure is expected to increase the capacity and reliability of the transport route.

Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Mobility and Public Works, François Bausch, Germany's Ambassador to Luxembourg, Dr Heike Peitsch, and the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, Oliver Luksic, together with the French Ambassador for Intergovernmental Commissions and Cross-Border Cooperation, Philippe Voiry, met near Schengen on Monday 18 September 2023 to sign a protocol amendment to the Moselle Convention. After the ratification procedures which will follow in the three countries, free navigation should come into force on 1 July 2025.

The Moselle Commission, headquartered in Trier, is an intergovernmental institution established by all three Moselle riparian states (Germany, France and Luxembourg). Its objective is to consult on navigation issues and to promote the interests of navigation on the Moselle. Currently, the presidency is held by Luxembourg.

As part of the abolition of shipping duties, the Société Internationale de la Moselle, which was responsible for the development of the Moselle in the last century and the distribution of tolls, will also be liquidated.

Minister Bausch commented: "To meet the challenges of a climate-neutral economy, it is necessary to shift more goods to inland waterways and rail. For transport in the agricultural, energy, chemical, steel and construction sectors, river navigation is very well suited. Thanks to the abolition of navigation tolls on the Moselle which has just been initiated, river transport will be able to operate in a more competitive manner in the future and we will thus encourage a greater modal shift towards this sustainable mode of transport. This also benefits the trimodal port of Mertert."

State Secretary Luksic emphasised: "I am pleased that today we are strengthening together the climate-friendly mode of transport of inland navigation and that we are completing, with the implementation of the protocol in 2025, the abolition tolls on all German waterways. The abolition of taxes not only benefits inland navigation, but also the economy of the entire region [...]."

Ambassador Voiry added: "It is also a good day for the French Moselle and Lorraine. With the end of tolls [...], water transport, for example to and from Metz, the largest port on the Moselle and an important European transshipment centre for cereals, will be even more competitive. Today's result is also a successful example of the functional and trusting collaboration between our countries within the Moselle Commission, which we will continue in the future."