A key element of the competitiveness of seaports consists of its hinterland access. Canals, rivers and river deltas in Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands provide a dense network of hinterland connections for a number of large North Sea ports as well their necessary interlinking. While there is still no end-to-end standardised waterway for large container and push-towing ships between France, Wallonia and Flanders, a very important and ongoing project at European level aims to complete the missing links between the Seine and the Scheldt. The 'Seine Nord; Seine-Escaut' and 'Le Havre-Paris' canals will become the missing link between of the North-Sea Mediterranean and Atlantic Corridors. Taking into consideration the reality of economic and transport flows, it is clear that a sustainable but efficient transport policy cannot be based on one single mode. Other arguments in favour of inland navigation are its environmental added value character and low transport costs compared to road traffic.
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