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TEN-T Programme Set to Invest in the Strait of Dover

Published the 17 July 2015

In order to provide an adequate response to the future requirements of freight movement in Dover Strait, the port authorities of Dover and Calais have obtained development funding via European Commission investment credits through the TEN-T programme. Freight is a significant issue for the strait, which is a high-traffic area between Britain and continental Europe and where maritime traffic is expected to rise by 40% by the year 2030.

The TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Networks) programme, created by the European Commission to support construction and improve transport infrastructures around Europe, selected the project submitted by the Port of Dover (UK) and the Nord-Pas de Calais Region (France) envisaging improvements in the Strait of Dover. This project, entitled BRIDGE (Building the Resilience of International Dependent Gateways in Europe) aims to improve existing links between the two shores of the strait and to provide a better connection between the British Isles and the European mainland.

In order to respond to growing market needs (particularly in terms of freight transport), the project aims to improve existing port infrastructures in Dover and Calais, especially their respective mooring areas. The objective is to secure regular connections between the two shores by reducing the length of time vessels spend in the harbour, targeting an optimal rate of 41 return journeys per day. A state of the art multimodal platform will also be given the financial go-ahead in the Port of Calais, helping to regulate the flow of vessels in the docks: the project plans to install a rail terminal to improve deliveries to the south of France, and will include new electronic tools facilitating logistics management. In the Port of Dover, new infrastructures will help to reduce congestion in the docks and surrounding areas, and will incorporate an additional secure waiting area for around 220 freight vehicles.

In total, almost €14m of European funding has been released for the project (or 20% of the total amount required), which should lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions resulting from the movement of freight on both sides of the strait. One aspect of a €10m project aiming to reduce pollution by installing filters on certain boats in the North Sea will also concern the Calais-Dover route.

Another wide-reaching TEN-T project that looks set to have a significant impact on the Strait of Dover is the Seine-Nord Europe Canal, which will act as a link between Seine-Escaut and form an important element of the "North Sea-Mediterranean" corridor. As part of the European Interconnection Mechanism (EIM) initiative during the 2016-2020 period, the project will benefit from a €980m subsidy for a first round of studies and groundwork whose cost is estimated at €2.326bn. An equivalent subsidy is also expected to be awarded for the second phase of works, scheduled to be carried out between 2020 and 2023. The new canal, stretching over 107km between Compiègne (Oise) and Aubencheul-au-Bac (Nord) will link the Seine basin to the European network via the Oise river, using a large-scale Vb class waterway (which may be used by vessels up to 4,400 tonnes).

The TEN-T programme will also be co-financing other projects affecting European straits as part of the “Motorways of the Sea” initiative: €3.6m to reduce maritime transport emissions in the Baltic (especially the Strait of Kvarken, the Fehmarn Belt and the Gulf of Finland); €2.3m to modernise the ferries linking the two coasts of the Fehmarn Belt to meet new sulphur dioxide standards; €2.5m for studies examining the use of liquefied Natural Gas in the Eastern Mediterranean (relevant to the 4 Mediterranean straits involved in the ESI).


On the European Commission website:

- Section Innovation & Networks Executive Agency

- Section Transport

About Seine Nord Europe Canal (in French):



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