Seine-Nord Europe Canal Company

Learn more about the Seine-Nord Europe Canal

What is the Seine-Nord Europe Canal? What are its objectives and its ambition at the heart of the Region, France and Europe? 

The Canal at home

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The essentials of the Canal

The Seine-North Europe Canal, major development project territory combining technical performance, respect for the environment and safety, will connect Compiègne, in the Oise, to Aubencheul-au-Bac, in the North, by 2030. This wide-gauge canal of 107 kilometers long and 54 meters wide is an essential link in the Seine-Escaut river link, which will connect the French network to the 20 km of European waterways. It will thus allow the development of the river, an ecological solution for the transport of goods, and a factor in the competitiveness of production and the attractiveness of territories. This major project is an investment of more than 000 billion euros financed by the European Union, France and the local authorities which pilot the Société du Canal Seine-Nord Europe (SCSNE), a public establishment which ensures its management. work.


A wide-gauge canal, the Seine-Nord Europe Canal will be able to accommodate barges measuring up to 185 meters long et 11,40 meters wide. A small revolution in the sector, while the current Canal du Nord, which is much narrower, today represents a real bottleneck.

Goods transported between the Paris basin, Hauts-de-France, the ports of Dunkirk, Le Havre, Rouen and northern Europe will thus be able to transit more by river, which will relieve the road network, saturated by trucks . Large boats can indeed carry up to 4 tons of goods each, equivalent to 400 trucks. Thus, the passage of a river convoy of 4 tons every 400/1 hour is equivalent to a truck every 2 seconds.

It is estimated, a few years after its commissioning, that the Seine-Nord Europe Canal will make it possible to transport around 17 million tons of goods per year and to reduce road traffic by 1 million heavy goods vehicles in France, and even by 2,3 million across Europe on the Seine-Escaut link. The result is a carbon footprint that demonstrates, over 40 years, a savings of more than 50 million tonnes of CO2. A way to meet the climate and energy challenges of the 21strd century.

Open 24 hours a day, 24 days a year, the Seine-Nord Europe Canal can be crossed in 360 to 16 hours on average, compared to around thirty hours by the current river network.

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Central link of the Seine-Escaut river link

The opening of the Canal Seine-Nord Europe will give concrete form to the Seine-Escaut link as a first European river network. With a length of 1 kilometers of wide-gauge rivers, rivers and navigable canals, Seine-Escaut will constitute a major economic and ecological corridor which will irrigate the territories between Le Havre, Île-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Dunkirk and Belgium.

Thanks to Seine-Escaut, the Seine basin will be opened up : large boats will be able to circulate freely to and from the north of France and Europe, allowing them to benefit from all the advantages of the waterway: reduced transport costs and low greenhouse gas emissions massification on large boats.

The implementation of Seine-Escaut is the result of a partnership between France (Local authorities and State), Flanders and Wallonia with the support of Europe. It represents an investment of around 8 billion euros, which includes the construction of the Canal Seine-Nord Europe (€5,1 billion), the modernization and improvement of the navigable and environmental performance of rivers and streams (the Seine , Oise, Lys…) and canals in France and Belgium.

Discover the Seine-Escaut network website.

The main characteristics of the Canal

A technological challenge, the Seine-Nord Europe Canal will benefit fromstate-of-the-art equipment. It will thus be equipped with 6 locks – including 2 with a drop height of more than 25 meters – and 3 canal bridges – including the Pont-Canal de la Somme, more than 1,3 km long. 62 road and rail bridges will allow it to be crossed at many points along the route, guaranteeing easy mobility within the territory. And a water reservoir at Allaines will meet the needs at the top of the Canal in the event of a drop in the water level.

Inland ports

The 4 inland ports of Noyon, Nesle, Péronne and Marquion-Cambrai, developed by the Hauts-de-France Region and the Intercommunalities, will be the gateway to the Canal for companies in a vast surrounding territory where they will benefit from port services for bulk or containerized goods.

Finally, 2 reception sites for pleasure boats – from river cruisers to yachts for pleasure boaters – are planned in Saint-Christ-Briost and Allaines in the Somme. The Seine-Nord Europe Canal is also a vector of opportunities for river and local tourism, with the possibility of cruises and discoveries of the territories served.

Environmental facilities

La Environmental Protection is at the heart of the project. The process of permeabilization du Canal, for example, will combine conventional methods with a natural solution, based on the reuse of silt and chalk already present on part of the route. Ecological banks will be created, as well as wet meadows, ponds, dry meadows, as many sites favorable to biodiversity. The Canal is designed to guarantee the continuity of wildlife movement corridors with the development of gently sloping banks, lift systems on the bank and an eco-bridge in a sector where the Canal is heavily cut. Many afforestation and reforestation operations began in 2017 and will continue throughout the project. Ambitious environmental developments that will make it possible to replant nearly 3 trees for each tree felled.

Who funds?

The investment required for the construction of the Seine-Nord Europe Canal amounts to 5,1 billion.

Included in a financing agreement in 2019, this budget is shared between Europe, local authorities and the French State.

It will be completed via a loan of up to 800 million euros, reimbursed by the receipts of a national tax with a local base encouraging modal shift.