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ESO presents annual report 2018

Foreword ESO’s annual report 2018

Dear reader,

In my capacity as president of the European Skippers’Organisation (ESO) vzw it is truly an honor and pleasure to introduce to you our annual report on the 2018 working year.

Although ESO was already founded in 1975, now that legal entity has recently been acquired, this annual report gives us an opportunity to present to you an insight into the activities with which our skippers’ organisation is involved, naturally with the focus on Europe, the CCNR and other supra-national bodies.

With some sense of pride, I can state without a shadow of a doubt that with modest means, but with an international group of enthusiastic employees, we uphold the interests of inland shipping. In particular we attend to the interests of the independent entrepreneurs / skippers, almost in all its facets.
This is by no means an easy task and, as you can see in this report, a solid internal organisation has been set up.

The external structure has also been put on the European map since the end of 2017 with the establishment of the joint IWT platform (Inland Waterway Transport). In a joint composition with the European Barge Union (EBU), we focus with this platform on the enormous challenges facing the inland shipping sector in Europe.

I would like to take this opportunity to honor our former Secretary-General, Hester Duursema – who left us in 2018- for the groundbreaking work she has achieved in her relatively short stay with ESO!

I sincerely wish to thank all employees in front of and behind the scenes of ESO from the bottom of my heart for their disinterested, but very professional attitude and infectious workforce. Since 2012 I am allowed to be part of this excellent team.

PANTA RHEI… .. everything flows…. everything is moving …

Yours sincerely,                                      

Christiaan VanLancker, president.

Link to the annual report

ESO wishes you all happy New Year

Brussels, 20 December, 2018.

Dear all,

2018 will be remembered as the year in which ESO and EBU, the two organisations representing inland shipping, joint forces in the Inland Waterway Transport Platform.
The official launch event of the IWT Platform will take place on January 21, 2019, in Brussels. 

With our combined forces and funding we can strengthen our representation and bring it to a higher level of expertise and influence, which is quite necessary.

The challenges for the coming years are enormous. We have to take giant steps to comply with the goals for decarbonisation and reducing the harmful pollutants. Also our infrastructure needs upgrading and extension, and in the field of human resources we have to make extra efforts to increase the attractiveness of our sector.

In other words, people, planet, prosperity are, as far we are concerned, leading in inland shipping.


We hope to continue our constructive cooperation with you and all stakeholders in order to achieve our goals.

On behalf of all ESO collegues we wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Gerard Kester
Secretary General

EDINNA’s secretary on rescue course

When duty calls …

While calling the successful candidates of the final examinations, teacher Tom van den Berg and director Arjen Mintjes* of the Maritime Academy Harlingen were signalled by the Coast Guard to rescue a sinking French sailing yacht at the Pollendam** with other colleagues of the KNRM** Harlingen.
The  successful candidates had to wait a little longer for their results, but the French sailor was brought into Harlingen safe and sound thanks to this fast KNRM action. ‘

*) Mr Arjen Mintjes is secretary of EDINNA, the European educational association of schools and institutes for inland waterway navigation.

**) Pollendam is a breakwater between Harlingen Harbour and the island of Terschelling
KNRM = Royal Dutch Rescue Association]

Kees den Braber deceased

Yesterday we received the unexpected notice of the decease of Kees den Braber. After a short but severe illness he died Thursday morning, the first of June, at the age of 66.

Many of you may remember Kees as a very dedicated council member of ESO on behalf of CBOB (NL), until his retreat in 2008. He started in ESO’s council a long time ago, from 1992 when CBOB joined ESO as a member organisation.
Whenever he could he attended ESO’s meetings, often he had to travel from somewhere in France or elsewhere, that is, if the ships businesses allowed this.

When Kees was present at ESO’s Council meetings you couldn’t miss him. He had a clear view on the challenges and problems IWT had to master, especially the sector and regions his entreprise was operating in. He firmly supported cooperation of skippers and he himself was a convinced member of ELV.

He sailed and managed his ship Avanti together with his wife Sari den Braber-de Blaey, who always stood beside him and supported him. We’ll think of her and their children in this great and sudden loss.

ESO and the IWT sector owe a lot to his knowledge and expertise.

Funeral card can be downloaded here.

ESO’s NY event

.. ‘life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated’ .. (confucius)

Last Monday afternoon, February 20th, ESO held its annual New Years’s reception.
Both the new Secretary General of the CCNR, Bruno Georges, as DG-MOVE’s new Head of unit for Ports & IWT, Daniela Rusça, gave their view on challenges and opportunities for IWT.
President Christiaan Van Lancker followed with his traditional NY’s speech, to clarify ESO’s policy and view on various important IWT matters.
The event was moderated by ESO’s Secretary General Hester Duursema.


Christiaan VanLancker, Daniela Rusça, Bruno Georges (left to right)

Approximate 35 guests from European Commission, member states, ports, inspections, organisations and of course members, were informed about the ongoing businesses  and a preview of what is to come.

The event was hosted at the premisses of ITLB, right near the Berlaymont building of the Commission.

Expert asked to research workload IWT

Towards a Sustainable Crewing System (TASCS)

The social partners (EBU, ESO and ETF) have started TASCS to investigate the workload of IWT personnel. This joint project has to identify and assess all relevant critical elements and/or influences that have impact on crew members on board of a vessel whilst at work/ rest. The project is  funded by the European Commission and will be carried out from spring 2017 until autumn 2018.
First of all a tender will be issued to look for an external Research Partner who will be in charge of the investigation under supervision of a steering group.
Specifications can be found hereafter and in the accompanying document.
Bids are awaited before 20 February 2017 at 23:59 – at midnight the tender will be closed.

ETF’s Political Secretary Mrs. Myriam Chaffart will manage the project on behalf of EBU, ESO (employers) and ETF (employees.

Read more

Next step to renew manning regulations

Joint study into workload

The European Commission has approved on a grant for a study into the workload for crewmembers in inland shipping. The request for this study was a joint initiative of the social partners.
The study should lead to a practice oriented renewal of the manning regulations for Rhine navigation and possibly form the prelude for a settlement in the other EU countries.

The representants of the employers (ESO & EBU) and employees (ETF) at European level -the social partners – will act as soon as possible to have the investigations for this study carried out.
As an essential part of the study members of the national organisations will be approached to cooperate with the practical investigations on board of approx. 50 IWT vessels of all types and categories.

As soon as all necessary documents are signed the study can start. Partners expect next February 1st is achievable.