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 (VNF,  ) is the French navigation authority responsible for the management of the majority of Francemarker's inland waterways network and the associated facilities—towpaths, commercial and leisure ports, lock-keeper's houses and other structures. VNF was established in 1991 and took over the responsibility for all waterways from the National Office of Navigation ( ) in 1993. It is a public body and is under the control of the Minister of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Territorial Development ( ). The headquarters of VNF are in Béthunemarker, Pas-de-Calais with local offices throughout France.


The French natural and man-made waterways network is the largest in Europe extending to over of which VNF manages the navigable setions. The assets managed by VNF comprise of waterways, made up of of canals and of navigable rivers, 494 dams, 1595 locks, 74 aqueducts, 65 reservoirs, 35 tunnels and a land area of . Two significant waterways which are not under VNF's control are the navigable sections of the River Sommemarker and the Brittany Canalsmarker, which are both under local management.

Approximately 20% of the network is suitable for commercial boats of over 1000 tonnes and the VNF has an ongoing programme of maintenance and modernisation to increase depth of waterways, widths of locks and headroom under bridges to support France's stategy of encouraging freight onto water as part of her sustainable development programme—a survey by Price Waterhouse Coopersmarker showed that 75% of French companies were willing to switch to barge transport. A major current initiative is the cross-border Seine-Scheldtmarker project which will provide a continuous wide-gauge navigation from Le Havremarker to Antwerpmarker.

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