For 150 years, boats have been using the 14 km water ribbon of the canal. Right from its opening in 1957, it was a success and in 1971, over 3000 merchant ships were using it.
Over the years, numerous improvements made easier a regular growth. Wharf and unloading cranes were put in on huge sites on the right bank. Between 1918 and 1930, tonnage doubled to reach 2 millions tons.
The port suffered a lot from the German pillaging and the 1944 bombing; but thanks to the British help, it soon was rebuilt and operational again.
The canal has not only favoured the regional economy. The stretch of smooth water for water sports, walking paths, great spot for fishermen, the canal is fully part of this natural environment and has soon become a great place for sharing activities for inhabitants of the 9 towns which surround it.