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Network of 7 Flemish waterways


tons of maximum loading capacity of ships


Fewer trucks on the road

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The challenge

Inland shipping holds significant economic importance in Europe and presents a promising alternative to the congested highways currently in use for freight transportation. However, realizing this potential requires the development of enhanced shipping infrastructure.

This is why the European Union is investing in the cross-border 'Seine-Scheldt' program, which aims to strengthen the connections between the Seine and Scheldt basins, as well as the Leie basin. Through this initiative, efforts are being made to improve links with seaports, fostering not only increased inland navigation between France and Flanders but also delivering additional benefits such as recreational opportunities and improved quality of life.

In Flanders, De Vlaamse Waterweg nv is responsible for this project, which involves the adaptation of locks, raising bridges, the modification of waterways, and a focus on river restoration.

The solution

De Vlaamse Waterweg nv has engaged a consortium comprising Arcadis, Sweco Belgium, and Antea Group for a second consecutive period to bolster its internal expertise. The role of the consortium includes:

  • Providing substantive and technical support for tender processes, engineering tasks, site monitoring, and more.
  • Offering expertise in spatial planning, financial management, legal compliance, ecology, climate considerations, and water management.
  • Providing administrative support for tasks such as accounting and communication.

As a consulting agency, we collaborate closely with our client to offer assistance and guidance in decision-making processes. Working in tandem with our client as part of an integrated team, we draw upon our extensive experience to drive the successful completion of the project.

Through our collaborative and transparent approach, we ensure that projects of this nature remain manageable for the organizing entity. Our joint efforts focus not only on enhancing infrastructure for container and towed vessels but also on fostering vibrant life along the waterway, exploring sustainable solutions, and cultivating a welcoming living environment. These are central priorities for De Vlaamse Waterweg nv, and we are committed to providing our expertise and support in these areas.

Some examples of this include the ecologically responsible construction of riverbanks, the restoration of natural habitats, and the development of pedestrian and cycling bridges to enhance connectivity for local communities.

The impact

Thanks to these enhancements, the current inland shipping link between Flanders and France will soon be capable of effortlessly accommodating vessels with a loading capacity of up to 4,500 tons. By the year 2040, the volume of transport via inland shipping is projected to surge to 18 million tons annually, translating to a reduction of 720,000 trucks on the roads.

In addition to bolstering this vital connection, Europe is making substantial investments in eight other corridors to foster growth and prosperity. As a result, the 28 European Member States will be well connected with each other, but also with neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. The overarching goal is to eliminate bottlenecks, enhance infrastructure, and optimize both passenger and freight transport by the year 2030.

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