Voies Navigables de France (VNF) is a major water resource player, a promoter of sustainable inland waterway transport, and is deeply rooted in towns, cities and across rural France. It is the national operator of river ambition: one unique establishment which responds, on two complementary and connected networks (transport and tourism)
The French Government assign 3 main ‘missions’ to VNF:
- To develop logistics and the transport of goods by water;
- To participate in the economic and tourism development of local areas;
- To ensure hydraulic management and the management of water resources
VNF are well placed to play an important role in tackling the challenges facing our society.
On top of being France’s largest water supplier, the waterway network offers a real capacity for modal shift in public transport; for leisure, commuting to work or just getting from A to Z. Additionally, the attractiveness of waterways and the urban rural landscape they cut through are vital for economic activities in the country.
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.
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