Drought Restricting Vessel Drafts on Ghent-Terneuzen Canal – Heavy Lift News
5 Aug 2022

Drought Restricting Vessel Drafts on Ghent-Terneuzen Canal

The persistent drought and the predictions that it will continue for some time to come have consequences for shipping in North Sea Port: on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal there is less draft and congestion at the locks.

The drought means that there is less water in the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal. On the one hand because less water can be supplied from the interior of Belgium, on the other hand because there is too little rainfall. Ships are therefore currently allowed to lie a maximum of 12.35m in the water (instead of 12.50m) in order to guarantee safe navigation. This draft has also been in effect during the summer for the past two years.

Ships entering the channel from the Western Scheldt must therefore lighten additional goods up to a maximum draft of 12.35m. Ships that want to leave the port from Ghent and Terneuzen are also forced to load less goods.

To prevent a lot of water from flowing from the Canal into the Western Scheldt, the locks in Terneuzen open less. The locks remain closed from 2 hours before and up to 2 hours after low water to limit the amount of lock water. In one day, therefore, no ships can enter or leave the Channel via the lock complex in Terneuzen for 8 hours. This results in longer waiting times for seagoing vessels, inland vessels and tugs.

If there is then artillery, as many ships as possible are brought into the locks at the same time. The aim is not only to save water, but also to prevent salinisation, and to maintain banks and dams. 

In the inland navigation lock in Evergem – south of the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal – water-saving artillery is also used by filling the lock chamber with as many ships as possible. 

The water management of the Terneuzen-Ghent Canal is a matter for the Dutch Rijkswaterstaat and the Flemish Waterway. North Sea Port is in contact with this to estimate the consequences for shipping and to make agreements. 

Source North Sea Port

Related news