Final bids for France’s € 4,5 billion canal
08 April 2011
Voies Navigables de France (VNF) is considering rival tenders from French contractors Bouygues and Vinci for the construction of the Seine Nord Europe (SNE) Canal - a project estimated to cost €4,5 billion.
VNF - the public body that manages France's 6700 km long waterway network - opened the tender process in 2009, but the final shortlisted was put on hold after government delays over finance.
On 5 April, French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that the project would go ahead, funded by the European Union, the French government, local governments and public-private partnerships.
The high capacity 106 km long, 54 m wide SNE Canal will connect the Seine and Scheldt rivers, allowing large vessels to transport goods between the Paris area and the ports of Dunkirk, Antwerp and Rotterdam.
It will also connect the French water transport network with those of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
Construction will include seven single chamber locks with water saving basins, two water storage reservoirs, three aqueducts, four multi-modal platforms, seven loading/unloading quays, five boat harbours and 3,6 km2 of industrial ports. The project is scheduled for completion by 2020.