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Port of Brussels seeks new electric boat to clean up canal

One of the two boats already in operation. © Haven Brussel

The Brussel Port Authority has contracted to buy a new boat to keep the canal clean, and this time the new vessel will be electric.

Part of the authority’s job is to keep the surface water on the canal, which stretches from around exit 17 on the Ring to the Vilvoorde viaduct, clean. Two boats are already in operation on the canal (see photo) and a third is soon to be added.

In addition, a volunteer effort sends out a kayak to pick up rubbish from the canal surface on a regular basis.

The two boats we have at our disposal are powered in the traditional way: by petrol,” Sylvain Godefroid, spokesman for the Port of Brussels, told Bruzz.

We have owned one for more than ten years.”

But change is on the cards.

“We are considering the purchase of a third boat that will be electrically powered. We will launch a public tender. We will consult the market, but we already know that a model has been developed by a British company,” said Godefroid.

Whether that model is already in use or not, he could not say.

The layout of the canal makes it difficult for the cleaner boats to be deployed all the way from north to south, principally because of the locks at the southern end, in the Anderlecht region, where the Charleroi canal originally met the Willebroek canal.

The northern part of the canal, which used to be able to receive ocean-going ships from Ostend at the time of the Great Exhibition, is now the main centre of activity of the Port of Brussels.

According to Alain Maron (Ecolo), Brussels region minister for the port, the existing boats have enough to keep them busy.

Not so long ago, for example, Dott and the Port of Brussels fished 41 electric scooters out of the canal, and Canal It Up organizes weekly kayak trips to clean the Brussels canal,” he said in response to a parliamentary question

These measures complement the almost daily work of the port teams who maintain the canal and collect an average of 200 cubic metres of floating waste every year,” he said.