Waterwegen & Zeekanaal vzw exists for 25 years. They celebrated that on 5th June 2007 with an academic session and jubilee diner at the Lamot site in Mechelen, and with a jubilee brochure. E-Crane Worldwide / Indusign was one of the main sponsors.
1982-2007: 25 Years of Waterwegen & Zeekanaal vzw
The goal of Waterwegen & Zeekanaal vzw (WenZ) is to promote and stimulate the use of our (Flemish) waterways. “Therefore, we have to keep optimizing those waterways and all their aspects”, writes Mr. Frans D’Haese, president of WenZ, in his foreword for the jubilee brochure. He gives some examples: building the Sea-lock of Wintam, adapting the canal’s banks, building quay-walls, improving the availability of water-bound terrain, …
The NV Waterwegen & Zeekanaal (W&Z, Waterways and Sea-canal Ltd.) originates from the in 1982 founded Vereniging Zeekanaal Schelde-Brussel (Association Sea-canal Schelde- Brussels). It’s mission is to manage the waterways and adjacent terrain in their working area, in a durable and dynamic manner. The vast working area is divided into 3 territorial departments: department Bovenschelde (Upper-Schelde), department Zeeschelde (Sea-Schelde) and department zeekanaal (Seacanal). Each department is responsable for works at the infrastructure in its area, maintenance and operating of the bridges and locks, rendering technical advice, issuing permits and the follow-up of big local projects.
Waterwegen & Zeekanaal vzw serves the interests of companies that are using or wanting to use the Flemish Waterways, and acts as a mouth-piece towards the authorized ministers, managers of waterways and public administrations.
Roughly speaking, their geographic area of operation is all Flemish non-maritime waterways, except for the Albert Canal and its joining canals.
Interview with Mr. Kris Peeters
Kris Peeters is the Flemish minister of Public Works, Energy, Environment and Nature.
In WenZ’ jubilee brochure (p. 4&5) he pleads to keep stimulating the inland navigation as a full value alternative for transport by road. A number of measures have been taken already. Continuously investing in our infrastructure is of absolute importance. Many initiatives have been taken to make better use of our waterways, for example the “quay-wall program”, this is what we call the PPS-regulation. PPS is short for the Dutch “Publiek-Private Samenwerking”, translated Public-Private Cooperation. It is a regulation for the construction of loading and unloading facilities. If certain conditions are fulfilled, the government contributes up to 80% of the costs for building the quay infrastructure. The rest of the amount is than provided for by the private sector, which on its turn then commits to transporting a certain tonnage per year over the waterways.
Mr. Peeters also sees opportunities concerning the environment in the inland navigation. “It’s clear to me that the inland navigation is an important means of transport. By taking trucks off the road, the inland navigation contributes to solving our traffic problems. And as an environmental friendly means of transport, it brings us one step closer to Kyoto.” Recently, the impuls program “low emission motors” was launched, to improve the environmental friendliness of inland navigation even more. During a period of 5 years, an annual amount of 350.000 euro will be spent on this project. For example, by replacing existing diesel engines by engines that comply with the stricter emission rates, we will be able to increase the CO2-levels by at least 3,6 miljon tons per year.
“Inland Navigation is on the Way up”
Inland navigation is on the way up, not only in Flanders, but in the whole of Europe as well, thus concludes W&Z in the jubilee brochure. No wonder, so they write, since transport over water is cheap, energysaving, safe and environmental friendly: no traffic jams, no delays, no noise pollution and a minimal emission of smut and greenhousegases.