Flemish minister Lydia Peeters made a visit to the Roeselare River Terminal. During her visit, the minister underlined the importance of the upgrading of the Roeselare-Leie Canal. Under the leadership of a Canal Zone Taskforce, parties have joined forces to expand the canal zone and turn it into an economic driver and lively hotspot for the whole region.
“With De Vlaamse Waterweg nv, we have already invested 13.1 million euros in the upgrading of the Roeselare-Leie Canal and the renovation of the business infrastructure, besides a significant amount in maintenance equipment. These investments will make it even more attractive for the companies in the canal zone to redefine their transport process in order to make it more sustainable and to opt for transport freight via the water”, says Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters. “At the same time, we will revive the area around the waterway by providing high-quality public areas, green spaces and comfort for cyclists and walkers.”
Added value and driver for the region
The Roeselare-Leie Canal has been one of the main lifelines of the regional economy and employment for almost 150 years. It is an important cluster of economic activity in Flanders which is connected to an international network of waterways via the canal and the link to the Leie. More than 40% of the freight traffic on the busy Leie is coming from or going to the canal zone.
Minister Lydia Peeters: “I wholeheartedly support the modal shift to more sustainable modes of transport. It is important for our economy and essential if we want our cities to remain accessible and liveable. 80% of the businesses here are located a maximum of 10 kilometres from a waterway. We have to make even more use of this blue boulevard along with the railways. That way, we can take trucks off the road.”
The upgrading of the Roeselare-Leie canal is part of the Seine-Scheldt project and will involve the renovation and/or reconstruction of quay walls and banks, the rebuilding of bridges, the deepening of the canal and increasing the lock capacity in Ooigem. The upgrading will enable class Va vessels with a load capacity of up to 3,000 tons to use the waterway. The total costs for the upgrade project are estimated at 270 million euros.
Roeselare River Terminal ready after the summer
The works at the Roeselare River Terminal are being carried out on the instruction of De Vlaamse Waterweg nv and the West Flanders Development Agency. Already on the home straight: Herbosch-Kiere is set to complete the works at the end of summer 2021. With a 230-metre-long quay wall and 18,000 m² of storage space, this transshipment centre will become an important link in the upgrading of the whole canal zone.