Map of the canal region
|Maximum boat length||265 m (869 ft)|
|Maximum boat beam||34 m (112 ft)|
|Minimum boat draft||12.50 m (41.0 ft)|
|Start point||Ghent, Belgium|
|End point||Westerschelde (Scheldt) At Terneuzen, Netherlands|
The Ghent–Terneuzen Canal (Dutch: Kanaal van Gent naar Terneuzen), also known as the "Sea Canal" (Zeekanaal) is a canal linking Ghent in Belgium to the port of Terneuzen on the Westerschelde (Scheldt) estuary in the Netherlands, thereby providing the former with better access to the sea.
The canal was constructed between 1823 and 1827 on the initiative of the Dutch King: Belgium (as it subsequently became) and the Netherlands had become a united country under the terms agreed at the Congress of Vienna. After Belgium broke away in 1830, traffic to and from Belgium was blocked by the Dutch until 1841.
Between 1870 and 1885 the canal was enlarged to a depth of six and a half meters at its centre, and to a width of 17 meters at its base and 68 meters at the surface level: bridges were rebuilt accordingly along the Belgian sector.
Further development and major enlargement took place during the subsequent century, most notably during the early 1960s.
In February 2015 Flanders and the Netherlands signed a treaty for the construction of a new lock at Terneuzen, scheduled for completion in 2021 and costing €920M. The new lock is about the same size as those of the contemporaneous expansion project of the Panama Canal.
Today the Ghent-Terneuzen canal is 200 meters wide and 32 kilometers (20 mi) long, capable of accommodating ships of up to 125 000 gross tonnage. The largest permitted vessel size has increased, correspondingly, to 265 meters long x 34 meters wide, with a draft up to 12.5 meters.
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