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Dutch barge owners happy with proposed Rotterdam-Paris route

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

BRUSSELS Belgian and French efforts to modernize canals and waterways are a boon to Dutch barge owners, who own about eighty percent of all Western European inland waterway barges. Modernizing the rivers Scheldt and Seine takes investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars so barges, loaded with containers stacked three high, can navigate their routes. Currently, the Rotterdam-Paris route meanders too much and is too narrow in some places. Low-span bridges block large ships and make the waterways impassible for stacked containers. Dutch barge owners and freight forwarding companies are sold on the waterway option, which is rated economical and bypasses clogged roads. Former Dutch highways minister Peijs prioritized such infrastructure projects and helped obtain joint EU-funding for the transportation route.