Seine-Nord Europe Canal

A major sustainable waterway transport infrastructure

Designed to facilitate the movement of large barges between France, Belgium and the Netherlands, the Seine-Nord Europe canal is a large-gauge canal, 107 km long and 54 m wide, which will link two rivers, the Seine and the Escaut, thus connecting the French network to the 20,000 km of European waterways. The Société du Canal has awarded Artelia the design and supervision of the Compiègne-Passel section of this infrastructure.


Offering real alternatives to road transport is one of the main reasons for creating the Seine-Nord Europe canal. Replacing the current bottleneck of the Canal du Nord, this infrastructure will be able to accommodate barges up to 185 m long and 11.4 m wide, able to carry 4,400 t of goods – the equivalent of 220 lorries. Traffic projections suggest that the new canal could accommodate 17 Mt of freight per year, significantly reducing road traffic (1 to 2 million heavy goods vehicles) and generating a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 50 Mt over 40 years. The project is financed by the European Union, France and the local authorities, which are piloting SCSNE, the public body responsible for project management.

Artelia, which acted as leader of the Tim’Eau engineering consortium, was in charge of the design of sector 1 of the canal, which covers a route of 18.7 km between Compiègne and Passel and includes a number of improvements and new structures: upgrading of the Oise to the required gauge and widening of its side canal, construction of a lock at Montmacq, demolition and construction of 7 crossing structures, creation of 3 transhipment quays and a parking area…. Extensive use was made of the Group’s experience and tools in hydraulic modelling and digital navigation simulation. Particular attention was also paid to the environmental dimension of the project, with the implementation of lagoon banks and various compensatory measures.

Throughout the entire project, SCSNE has created more than 1,100 hectares of environmental features, 25 km of lagoon banks, 45 wildlife crossing areas and 200 km of promenades. The project also includes the planting of 850,000 trees and the rational use of water (no groundwater extraction, use of recycled water at the locks).