In the development of the project Changing Weathers, we have looked at length at green shipping, which in specific seems to indicate wind and electric powered shipping. A question arose early about starting a shipping company on the Danube, which we thought was a preposterous idea and forgot about it. But one thing led to another, discussions were had and we found that, at least in principle, a sustainable shipping company on the Danube is not to be regarded as impossible. This blog post documents part of the process of making it happen.
Option 1: Do it anyway. Find a boat, register it as a sport boat and start carrying things. If it works for smugglers, why not?
Option 2: Do it “properly” with all the documentation. This is strangely interesting.
The first thing that is needed is a Konzession, i.e. the permission to operate a transport company. Under 200 tonnes freight, it is not neccesary to provide evidence of expertise (fachliche Eignung) or financial backing (finanzielle Leistungsfähigkeit). This means that you only need to show citizenship, of any EU or EWR country or Switzerland, as well as your dependability (Verlässlichkeit) with a current police report (Strafregisterauszug). If these are from somewhere else, then translations will be necessary. In order to reduce costs, the forms to show that you are starting a new company (Neugründung) are of value, if you have never been self-employed. Otherwise the various fees run to around 300 Euro. You will get a Konzession für Güterbeförderung mit Fahrzeugen mit einer Tragfähigkeit von nicht mehr als 200 metrischen Tonnen bei höchstzulässigem Tiefgang auf österreichischen Wasserstrassen, ausgenommen in die Landesvollzeihung fallende, einschliesslich des grenzüberschreitenden Verkehrs. That means, in wonderfully burocratic German, permission for freight transport with vessels with not more than 200 tonnes loading at the maximal draft on Austrian waterways except those controlled by the states, including international transport.
Once the Konzession has been given, you can register your vessel. For small vessels, it seems that the restrictions are the same as for sport vessels. Once the vessel has ben registered, you need to inform the BMVIT which vessel is being used. If you have a motor over 50HP, this vessel also needs to be registered in the österreichischen Schiffsregister.
So far we have obtained the Konzession. It was remarkably painless, the administrators responsible for it are remarkably helpful. 272.60 Euros is not cheap, but not awful. Next step: getting a vessel.