Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine

The "Graciosa" container boat on the Rhine
Container boat on the Rhine in Basel © Norbert Aepli - CC BY 2.5

As a member of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, Switzerland participates in the development of European regulations concerning the river and enjoys freedom of navigation of the Rhine and its tributaries. 

The CCNR and her responsibilties

The member states of the Central Commission for Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) are the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland. CCNR resolutions are made by unanimous vote; each member state has the right of veto. The members share presidency of the organisation by rotation on a two-year basis. Switzerland headed the CCNR in 2006/2007; it will again preside in 2016/2017.

The main responsibilities of the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine are:

  • to safeguard freedom of navigation on the Rhine and its tributaries
  • to monitor uniform technical regulations (Rhine River System)

Switzerland and the CCNR

Switzerland has been a member of the CCNR since 1920. Its permanent delegation includes six members: the head of the delegation and five commissioners. The head of the Swiss Maritime Navigation Office leads the Swiss delegation to the CCNR.

Membership in a strong CCNR is important to Switzerland

  • In the area of shipping on the Rhine, Switzerland cooperates on equal terms in the development of European regulations.
  • Swiss ships enjoy full shipping rights on the Rhine and its tributaries; i.e., free navigation exempt from any duty thanks to the Mannheim Act, the oldest international treaty of which Switzerland is a member.

Key points of the CCNR's current activities

  • Regular updating of technical provisions concerning navigation on the Rhine, in line with latest developments
  • Strengthening the cooperation between the CCNR and the EU concerning inland navigation
  • Harmonisation of transport law concerning inland navigation in Europe. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the opening of the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal in 1992, cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe has grown increasingly important
  • In terms of environmental protection, the implementation of the Convention on the collection, deposit and reception of waste produced during navigation on the Rhine and Inland Waterways of 9 September 1996 (CDNI) is critical. The Convention sets requirements for the elimination of waste and for financing the effort