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An efficient transport system is crucial for a healthy economy in Germany. Waterways are important transport routes and offer in many cases a low-cost and environment-friendly alternative to road, rail and air transport or are part of transport chains.

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) defines the policy in the field of transport and sets the legal framework for the utilisation and management of the German waterways. The Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) is in charge of waterway development and maintenance, pursuant to the laws and regulations.

Details of the German Federal waterways mapFederal inland and coastal waterways – the BfG's responsibility

The German Federal Institute of Hydrology (Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde – BfG), is a supreme federal agency within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). As such it is the federal government's scientific institution for research, assessments, and consulting in the fields of hydrology, uses, quality and conservation of waters and ecology.

It advises the federal ministries and their subordinate bodies on fundamental and specific issues, in particular the Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) according to Section 45 (3) of the Federal Waterways Act in the context of planning, development, and new construction of waterways including their operation and maintenance.

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