Basel edges closer to the Mediterranean
Monday, 27.08.2012

Basel edges closer to the Mediterranean

France is planning to build two new canals – one in the direction of the Rhine and one in the direction of the Mosel. The French are hoping for a lot of benefits from the new canals: a direct link between the harbours on the Rhine, Rhone and Mosel with those of Marseille, Genoa, Sète and Barcelona. And direct access for ships from Asia to the heart of Europe via the Mediterranean.

Direct access to the Mediterranean would be interesting not only for oil and petroleum, but above all also for agricultural products from France. It would be both economically and ecologically interesting to be able to load some of these goods onto ships. The French, too, underline the advantages of inland waterway transport: a small ecological footprint, no noise, no traffic jams and also safety.

According to Rolf A. Vogt, managing director of Birsterminal AG, the advantages include a doubling of transport capacity on the waterways between the seaports and Switzerland; a shortening of the route to and from Asia, a shipping link to Mediterranean countries, a faster connection for export and import markets and also lower freight costs thanks to the canalization of the Rhone and Saône regardless of low water.

The French have already had preliminary studies done and clarified environmental issues. The timetable has also been settled: between 2025 and 2030 the first ship should be able to travel directly from Marseille to Basel.