Seine-Scheldt is an ambitious project:

  • Creating a new transport offer for Europe that is multimodal, cross-border, coherent, inter-connected, comprehensive, accessible, modern, safe, clean and efficient, which will speed up modal shift to waterways.
  • Contributing to the sustainable development of the European Union by supporting the major changes taking place in member countries: mobility of the future, economic growth, ecological transition.

Seine-Scheldt will be operational in 2030 thanks to:

  • An extensive programme of work launched in France and Belgium to regenerate, extend and modernise existing waterways that will be connected to the Seine-Nord-Europe Canal.
  • The construction of a new river infrastructure, the Seine-Nord Europe Canal, which will connect the Seine basin to the Scheldt basin as well as to other major European basins (Meuse, Rhine).

40 million Europeans affected

The Seine-Scheldt network will run through a territory that includes several large cities where 40 million people live and work, and will open up a new gateway to Europe for the trade of goods and the transport of passengers.

A major challenge: speeding up the modal shift to waterways

In the early 2000s, awareness of the impact of land and air transport on the climate and the planet (carbon footprint, noise pollution, congestion, insecurity, etc.) led European territories to incorporate waterways into the heart of their approach to cooperation once again.
The challenge involved speeding up the modal shift towards river transport against a backdrop of the rise in trade and traffic. The Seine-Scheldt network must respond to this challenge. It is the centrepiece of the North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor, one of the 9 multimodal corridors that should enable the development of a core trans-European multimodal transport network by 2030.

Seine-Scheldt, the result of a cross-border cooperation

The Seine-Scheldt EEIG is supporting the work involved in implementing the network:

  • This European Economic Interest Grouping is an international partnership created on 26 March 2010.
  • It brings together 4 waterway stakeholders in France and Belgium: Voies navigables de France (VNF), De Vlaamse Waterweg nv (DVW) and Le Service Public de Wallonie (SPW), who run the waterways in France, Flanders and Wallonia – as well as the Société du Canal Seine-Nord- Europe (SCSNE), , who is in charge of the construction of the Seine-Nord-Europe Canal.
  • It is responsible for coordinating the funding and implementation of the network, working closely with a wide range of partners.

VNF, the EEIG’s managing partner

VNF has been responsible for managing the Seine-Scheldt EEIG since 2010.

A real partnership

Within the Seine-Scheldt EEIG, there is a high quality collaboration, committed to dialogue, consultation and high standards. The members are in regular contact and have spent years working together, giving rise to a genuine spirit of partnership within the group. This means that the Seine-Scheldt EEIG can oversee the implementation of the network in accordance with the Implementing Decision drawn up with the European Commission.

A network deployed in stages

The Seine-Scheldt network is the result of an Implementing Decision:

  • adopted by the European Commission on 27 June 2019.
  • which defines the reciprocal commitments of the stakeholders involved, the objectives and a timetable for action.

Download the Implementing Decision

Timetable for deployment

La Décision d’Exécution prévoit :

The Implementing Decision includes:

  • improving navigation conditions for the Seine-Amont, from Nogent-sur-Seine to Paris by December 2030;
  • modernising and improving navigation conditions for the Seine-Aval, from Suresnes to Le Havre, by December 2027;
  • changing the gauge of the waterways to allow the movement of larger vessels and improving navigation conditions for the Oise, from Conflans Sainte-Honorine to Compiègne (including the MAGEO project), by December 2028;
  • constructing and commissioning the Seine-Nord Europe Canal, from Compiègne to Aubencheul-au-Bac, by December 2028;
  • changing the gauge of the waterways to allow access for larger vessels and improve navigation on the Dunkirk-Scheldt axis, by December 2027;
  • reopening and upgrading the Condé-Pommeroeul canal to allow the movement of larger vessels, by December 2022;
  • upgrading the Walloon backbone, from Pommeroeul to Namur, to adapt it to the movement of larger vessels, by December 2028;
  • upgrading the waterways and adapting structures (locks, bridges) on the Upper Scheldt, in the Walloon and Flemish regions, by 2030;
  • changing the gauge of the Lys, in the Flemish region, the Walloon region and France, to allow the movement of three layers of containers by December 2027;
  • modernising the Flemish sections of the inland waterways connected to the Seine-Scheldt by December 2022.

Cross-cutting projects

The Implementing Decision also covers general actions for the whole network:

  • by the end of 2022, the development of a strategic framework to promote the full development of an alternative fuels infrastructure, to be implemented gradually by the end of 2030.
  • by the end of 2028, the implementation of integrated and efficient cross-border traffic and transport management services (including River Information Services, RIS), as well as the development of multimodal logistics platforms.

Seine-Scheldt, a network constructed in partnership

Seine-Scheldt is a network that has been established in partnership by all the stakeholders involved in its implementation:

  • decision-makers and funders in France, Belgium and the European Union
  • elected officials, citizens and associations in the territories crossed: regions, departments, municipalities and inter-municipal organisations
  • river, rail and road infrastructure managers
  • seaports and inland ports connected to the network
  • transport and logistics stakeholders
  • companies in a range of different economic sectors, the future users of the Seine-Scheldt

A network that creates links

The result of a partnership and concerted approach, Seine-Scheldt not only forges waterway links between territories: it also strengthens the links between all the stakeholders involved as well as encourages social cohesion.

A network that is of interest to every business

The businesses affected by the implementation of the Seine-Scheldt network include some that already use the waterway, whatever their size or area of activity.
Some have historical links to river transport (such as construction, chemical, metalwork and food businesses).
Others are developing emerging activities around the waterway, such as urban river distribution and the circular economy.
Beyond that, Seine-Scheldt is of interest to every business that has to deal with road congestion in northern Europe, which sees this multimodal network as a credible, sustainable alternative to road transport.

Seine-Scheldt, a co-financed network

The Seine-Scheldt network benefits from European, national and local funding:

  • Three grant agreements are already in place with the European Union for the periods of 2007-2013, 2014-2020 and 2021-2027.
  • In France, the network is funded by AFIT France (Agence de financement des infrastructures de transport de France), the Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France, Grand Est and Normandy regions, departmental authorities, inter-municipal authorities and the water agencies.
  • In Belgium, Seine-Scheldt has the financial support of two regions, Flanders and Wallonia.

A substantial investment

The Seine-Scheldt is the largest investment project on the European waterway network, with €10 billion committed by 2030.

Huge support from the European Union

A high priority project for Europe’s transport policy, since 2000 the Seine-Scheldt network has benefited from substantial funding from the European Union, who contributed €176 million between 2007 and 2014 and €317 million between 2014 and 2020. In June 2022, a third funding of €276 million was granted by the European Commission for the period 2021-2027, in order to continue the successful implementation of the network.