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The policy commissions are established to deal with a range of topics in IWT.

The commissions have the task of preparing ESO’s policy and to advise the General Assembly (GA) and Governing Body.  The commissions are basically composed of members nominated by the member organisations but can be extended with outside experts if approved by the Governing Body/General Assembly.

Commissions meet at least four times a year. Much of the information provision and the discussions are done by mail.


The functioning and the coordination of the commissions as a whole is the task of the director. He also gathers the conclusions and recommendations which come from the commissions to compose the agenda for the meetings of Governing Body and – if necessary – the General Assembly.

Mr. Alain Devos is appointed as Director.


The infrastructure commission deals with all matters concerning fairways, locks, bridges, dimensions, planned or unforseen obstructions. depth, maintenance, etc. Subjects usually originate from CCNR and Commission, f.e. TEN-T or Rhine-related business. But also the ESO-memberorganisations bring issues from the national authorities, as well as skippers who identify problems.

The commission is chaired by Mr. Erik Schultz (Koninklijke Binnenvaart Nederland)

Innovation and Environment

Innovations to adapt to modern standards are very inportant to keep up with the demands of the shipping industry. But innovations are also part of the competition with other transport modes.
Moreover, it is important to separate wheat from chaff in order to get the best possible and economical sound solutions for the entrepreneur.

One of the main issues is the greening of engines, the NRMM directive -amongst others – is a very ‘hot’ item.

Chairman of this commission is Mrs. Daisy Rycquart a.i. (CITBO).

Market and Economy

Of course the economical part of inland shipping is a very important issue. Without a sound economical operation an entreprise cannot last very long, which also affects the entrepreneur, his family and his personnel. The IWT market is still recovering from the very severe crisis which started in 2008 and freight rates are not yet truly in line with what is needed.

A main problem is the lack of knowledge and insight of the freight market. At the insistence of the sector (ESO) about 10 years ago a market observatory was established bij de EC, set up and carried out by the CCNR. Since last year the observatory is expanded and deepened in order to meet the needs of the sector. Input is asked and will be provided by the ESO commission.

Chairman of Market and Economy is Mr. Alain Devos (a.i).

Social and Educational affairs

IWT involves not only economical or nautical affairs, people have to keep things running. The entrepeneur him/herself, skipper, crew and all who are involved in the sailing and operating of the ship.

Crewing matters, schedules, working time, wages, but also education and training, certicates and sailing-time, are daily recurring issues. The most important counterpartners in this view are EC and CCNR.

This commission is chaired by Mrs. Andrea Beckschäfer (BDS).

Nautical – Technical

This commission deals with all issues concerning the technical construction and nautical equipment in the broadest sense of the word. Rhine and Community certificates are leading. Over twenty to forty amendments and proposals for directives and regulations arrive each week at ESO’s desk, varying from minor to major changes.

Since 2004 exists a fruitful cooperation with the joint NTK (Nautisches-Technisches Kommission) of ESO and EBU.

Chairman of nautical and technical affairs is Mr. Gerard Kester. Mrs. Lydia Pater chairs the joint NTK committee of ESO & EBU.

Tanker shipping, ADN and Safety

From january 2015 the commission for tanker shipping and ADN exists. This commission also handles safety, GRTS and CDNI.
Since 2016 UNECE acknowledges ESO as representant of the sector. Twice a year ESO attends the biannual meeting in Geneva, jointly with EBU.
Tanker Shipping and ADN is chaired by Mr. Alain Devos (Ons Recht-Notre Droit).

Joint Commission Dangerous Goods

Summer 2016 the decision was taken to combine the commissions for dangerous goods of ESO and EBU. This joint commission is chaired by Mr. René Overveld. Vice Chairman is Mr. François M. Pruyn, Secretary Mr. Erwin Spitzer.