Article by: Voies Navigables de France


With 8,500 km of navigation routes, France has the longest network of waterways in Europe, a resource that helps boost the country’s economic development and offers strong potential for businesses and jobs. Roughly 80% of navigable waterways in France are managed by Voies Navigables de France who leads France’s ambition on its waterways.

The French state recently signed with VNF a « COP » (Goals and Performance Contract), based on the strategic and long-term investment capabilities for the river network.

By 2030, more than 3 billion euros are expected to be invested in river infrastructure. To achieve this 10 years plan, the « COP » articulates a project to upgrade VNF’s practices and to value the assets the waterways represent.

Among the various on-going projects, the implementation of tele-driving and automation of works will allow a more responsive and efficient service, and safer working conditions for staff. VNF also intends to provide more digital services, to strengthen the commercial attractiveness of waterways.

Strong partnerships with local authorities are also ahead. More and more French territories are taking in account the importance of investment in the waterways as a vector for their future development. Examples of this include the partnership around the Sambre in L’Oise who reopened recently, the « Entente » for the Canal du Midi, and the partnership with the Greater East Region.

This 10 year investment plan will enable France’s waterways, and VNF as their custodian, to be stronger, more enterprising and resilient.