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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

Upgrading a key European canal

The Theunis bridge over the Albert Canal in Antwerp (copyright De Vlaamse Waterweg NV)

The Albert Canal is the most important inland waterway in Belgium. It transports nearly 40 million tonnes of goods and connects the Port of Antwerp and the Scheldt with the Port of Liège and the Meuse river. To improve its navigability, the Flemish Region in Belgium government decided to upgrade it as a major shipping route by lifting 62 bridges to enable the transit of vessels transporting 4 layers of containers. other significant works include the widening of the Albert canal under certain bridges and near Antwerp, so that pushed convoys of up to 10,000 tonnes can navigate smoothly all along the waterway. 
Through two separate Connecting Europe Facility for Transport (CEF) projects, the EU supported the lifting of 20 of these bridges as well as a large part of the widening of the waterway. Bridges ensure road, rail, pedestrian, cycling and even tramway traffic over the Albert Canal (as seen in the picture). 

This major project is expected to boost inland waterway transport, increasing its efficiency and modal share, thereby reducing the climate impact of freight transport.