December 13 - According to reports in the French media, the delayed multi-billion euro Seine-Nord canal project that will link the Seine River to Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, has taken another step towards going ahead.
The inland waterway project was cancelled during 2012, when the French government and private investors citied spiraling costs and project complexity as limiting factors in the viability of the canal.
However, according to a French parliamentary report issued earlier this week, the Seine-Nord canal could be commissioned for approximately EUR5.5 billion (USD6.2 billion) - almost 40 percent cheaper than originally forecast.
The 106 km waterway would serve to reduce congestion on French roads and in the Benelux region by providing an alternative channel for freight traffic.
The report, led by the French deputy mayor of Maubeuge (Nord), Rémy Pauvros, described a number of financial, technical and engineering improvements that could adjust the cost of the planned waterway downward by as much as EUR3 billion (USD4.13 billion).
According to the media reports, France's transport minister, Frederic Cuvillier, said in a statement that he would determine how to move the project forwards in "the coming days".