Information about the 152km long river Moselle

Moselle Map France

The Moselle is a modern waterway, canalised to European Class V standard (for 1500-tonne barges and 3000-tonne push-tows) over a distance of 152 km in France from Neuves-Maisons near Nancy to the border with Luxembourg and Germany at Apach. The total length of the waterway to the confluence with the Rhine at Coblence is 394km.

The canalised Moselle connects with the Canal des Vosges at Neuves-Maisons (PK 394), the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, western section, at Toul (PK 369) and the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, eastern section at Nancy-Frouard (PK 346.5).

It should be noted that there are alternative routes for navigation at Toul (1.6km with one lock) and at Metz (10.5km, including the Canal de Jouy à Metz with its two locks, see plan). Distances in the right-hand column are those on the international waterway, counted from zero at Coblence.Moselle Region Map France

History – The Becquey plan in 1830 provided for the Moselle to be canalised over its whole length in France. Works were conducted from Nancy towards Metz, where the Canal de Jouy à Metz had already been built. The 1870-71 war stopped any further development, since Metz was thereafter in Germany. The existing locks were enlarged to the Freycinet gauge in the late 19th century. After the return of Lorraine to France, the Canal des Mines de Fer de la Moselle was built to the Freycinet gauge (40.50 by 6 m), but with extra width allowing for later enlargement. This canal was completed in 1932. In the meantime, the Moselle remained barely navigable through Luxemburg and Germany. When European construction began in the 1950s, canalisation of the whole river from Coblence to Metz, to 3m depth, was approved by the three riparian states in 1956, and works were completed in 1964. Locks were designed to receive two 1350-tonne barges (170x12m), and under pressure from France were extended by 6m to accommodate push-tows of two barges. The large-scale waterway was subsequently extended upstream, Nancy-Frouard being reached in 1972 (with locks 175 by 12m) and Neuves-Maisons in 1979 (locks 180 by 12m). This extension meant closing sections of the Canal de la Marne au Rhin and the Canal de l’Est, southern branch (now the Canal des Vosges). The available draught was increased to 2.80m in 2000.

Key Waterway Dimensions

  • Max Beam: 6m
  • Max Height: 4.40m
  • Max Draught: 1.50m


Locks – There are 16 locks between Neuves-Maisons and the German border. The first 10 to be built, from Apach up to Custines, have chambers 176 by 12m, with a sill depth of 3.50m. From Frouard upstream the locks were built slightly larger (185 by 12m, with a sill depth of 4m). The locks are electrically-operated and controlled by lights. Boat locks, 18.00 by 3.50m, were built at Apach and Kœnigsmacker, but these are no longer in use. At Talange and Metz-Nord there is a second lock, 40.50 by 6.00m, which is generally to be used by pleasure traffic. The locks on the Canal de Jouy à Metz are no longer operated, and this canal is only accessible from upstream for exceptional movements of residential barges.

Draught – Following a major programme of dredging works carried out under the aegis of the Moselle Commission, the maximum authorised draught has been raised to 3.00m from the Luxemburg border to the port of Metz. Above this point it is 2.50m. The available draught on the Canal de Jouy à Metz is limited to 1.50m.

Headroom – The fixed bridges on the main waterway generally leave a minimum headroom of 6.00m above the highest navigable water level. The exceptions are the N3 road bridge at Metz (5.10m above static water level) and Thionville-Nord railway bridge (4.40m above highest navigable water level).

Authority – VNF – Direction interrégionale du Nord-Est
–    2 avenue du Colonel Péchot, BP 326, 54201 Toul cedex (PK 0-47)
–    Écluse de l’Île d’Esch, BP 253, 54701 Pont-à-Mousson (PK 47-66)
–    4 quai des Régates, BP 21052, 57036 Metz cedex 1 (PK 66-152)

Click to enlarge

Moselle Waterway Map

Route description, north to south

PK 242.2     German border r/b (242.2km and 12 locks to Rhine at Koblenz)
PK 242.4     Lock (Apach), VHF 20, lift 4.40m, r/b (all boats use the large lock)
PK 243.3     Apach r/b, Luxembourg border l/b
PK 245.5     Sierck-les-Bains r/b
PK 246.8     Bridge (Sierck-les-Bains/Contz-les-Bains)
PK 247.0     Contz-les-Bains l/b
PK 249.5     Rettel r/b
PK 252.5     Berg-sur-Moselle l/b
PK 253.1     Meander cutoff r/b
PK 254.0     Malling r/b
PK 254.3     Bridge (Malling)
PK 257.5     End of diversion canal, Kœnigsmacker 700m r/b
PK 258.2     Lock (Kœnigsmacker), VHF 20, lift 3.90m, bridge (boat lock out of order, all boats use large lock)
PK 258.8     Entrance to Kœnigsmacker diversion canal, r/b, Cattenom nuclear power station l/b
PK 259.6     Overhead power lines
PK 264.7     Factory r/b, overhead power lines
PK 267.0     Railway bridge (Thionville-Nord)
PK 268.0     Bridge (Pont des Alliés)
PK 268.5     Thionville quay l/b, close to town centre
PK 268.9     End of diversion canal, boat club, 3 visitors’ berths, night €10, water, electricity, shower
PK 269.2     Motorway (A31) and railway bridges
PK 269.8     Lock (Thionville), VHF 20, lift 4.28m, parallel large and small chambers, bridge
PK 270.0     Downstream limit of port
PK 272.0     Upstream limit of port of Thionville-Illange, basins l/bJunction Plan Canal de la Meuse Moselle
PK 272.3     Flood gate (Uckange), footbridge
PK 273.3     Entrance to Thionville diversion canal, l/b
PK 273.7     Overhead power lines
PK 274.1     Overhead pipeline crossing
PK 275.2     Uckange bridge, town centre 1000m l/b
PK 275.9     Overhead Pipeline crossing
PK 276.1     Motorway bridge (A31 Thionville-Nancy)
PK 276.4     Basse-Guénange r/b
PK 276.8     Confluence of Orne l/b
PK 277.0     End of canal section, navigation reenters Moselle
PK 277.7     Lock (Orne/Richemont), VHF 20, lift 4.35m, parallel large and small chambers
PK 277.8     Bridge (Bousse)
PK 278.0     Richemont industrial basin l/b
PK 279.7     Mondelange bridge, town 600m l/b (over motorway)
PK 280.0     Industrial quay (Mondelange), l/b
PK 281.1     Bridge (Hagondange)
PK 281.3     Overhead power line
PK 281.9     Bridge (D55, motorway access road)
PK 282.3     Bridge (Talange,) destroyed
PK 282.9     Junction with Hagondange branch l/b, 2km long with turning basin (no interest for boats)
PK 283.2 Bridge
PK 283.4     Lock (Talange), VHF 20, lift 3.15m, parallel large and small chambers
PK 284.6     Hauconcourt bridge, village 700m r/b, Maizières-lès-Metz 1500m l/b
PK 286.6     Motorway bridge (A4, cloverleaf interchange l/b)
PK 286.8     Overhead powerlines
PK 287.0     Bridge (Amelange), destroyed
PK 287.2     Railway bridge (branch to Hauconcourt refinery)
PK 288.1     Flood gate (Argancy), bridge
PK 288.3     Entrance to former Canal des Mines de Fer de la Moselle l/b (now incorporated in canalised Moselle)
PK 290.3     Malroy r/b
PK 292.9     Overhead power lines
PK 294.1     New port of Metz, 900m long basin l/b (biggest grain port in France)
PK 296.0     Railway bridge and road bridge (Chambières)
PK 296.3     End of diversion canal
PK 296.5     Bridge (D953)
PK 296.7     Bridge (Pont Eblé)
PK 296.9     Lock (Metz-Nord), VHF 20, lift 4.60m, parallel large and small chambers
PK 297.3     Old port of Metz, basin l/b, pontoons (Lorraine  Nautisme), water, electricity, shower, crane 10t, slipway, pump-out, no overnight mooring
PK 297.4     Bridge (D603)
PK 297.7     Motorway bridge (A31 Thionville-Nancy)
PK 298.5     Flood gate (Wadrineau), footbridge
PK 298.7     Entrance to Metz diversion canal, l/b, Metz town centre and moorings 1500m down Moselle r/b, and junction with Montigny arm of Moselle

Junction Plan Metz

PK 299.0     Bridge (Pont de Verdun), Longeville-lès-Metz l/b
PK 299.5     Boat harbour in small arm l/b
PK 300.7     Junction with old Montigny arm of Moselle r/b, access to Metz for boats (see plan opposite)
PK 301.0     Railway bridge
PK 301.5     Entrance to Montigny diversion canal r/b, entrance to boat harbour l/b (Yachting Club de Metz), 3 visitors’ berths, night €10, water, electricity, shower
PK 302.7     Moulins-lès-Metz bridge, town 1000m l/b
PK 304.3     End of diversion canal
PK 304.7     Entrance to Vaux diversion canal, l/b
PK 305.8     Railway bridge
PK 306.1     End of diversion canal
PK 306.7     Lock (Ars-sur-Moselle), VHF 20, lift 4.00m
PK 307.1     Ars-sur-Moselle bridge, town centre 800m l/b (beyond railway)
PK 308.6     Entrance to Ars diversion canal, l/b, and junction with Canal de Jouy à Metz, r/b (alternative route to Metz no longer navigable at present)
PK 309.3     Ancy-sur-Moselle l/b, beyond railway and main road
PK 311.0     Access to boat harbour r/b, night €10, water, electricity, shower at camp site, slipway
PK 312.4     Corny-sur-Moselle bridge
PK 312.6     Junction with former canal section (disused), l/b
PK 317.4     End of Pagny/Pont-à-Mousson diversion canal
PK 318.1     Lock (Pagny-sur-Moselle), VHF 20, lift 8.50m, bridge
PK 318.5     Pagny-sur-Moselle basin, CCNB Lorraine Fluvial hire base, town centre 700m l/b
PK 320.5     Overhead power lines
PK 320.7     Railway viaduct (Moselle, TGV Est)
PK 321.4     Bridge (Chécohée-Vandières)
PK 321.8     Vandières public quay l/b, village with shops behind railway line
PK 322.8     Overhead power lines
PK 323.7     Bridge (Norroy)
PK 325.4     Flood gate (Pont-à-Mousson), bridge, access to grain loading quay l/b
PK 325.6     New entrance to Pagny/Pont-à-Mousson diversion canal, l/b
PK 325.7     Bridge (D910b, Pont-à-Mousson bypass)
PK 327.0     Entrance to former canal section, l/b (keep to Moselle), access to Pont-à-Mousson boat harbour, 45 berths, night €11, water, electricity, shower, slipway, pump-out
PK 327.6     Pont-à-Mousson bridge, pontoon moorings r/b
PK 328.0     Junction with former diversion canal (disused) l/b, possible mooring for Pont-à-Mousson
PK 330.8     End of diversion canal
PK 331.6     Lock (Blénod/Pont-à-Mousson), VHF 20, lift 5.65m, bridge
PK 332.3     Road and railway bridge (access to Blénod power station r/b)
PK 333.3     Overhead power lines
PK 334.1     Dieulouard bridge, small town centre 900m l/b
PK 335.3     Private quay (Atton) r/b
PK 336.1     Flood gate (Liégeot), footbridge
PK 336.5     Entrance to Blénod-Liégeot diversion canal, l/b
PK 336.9     Overhead power lines
PK 338.5     Motorway bridge (viaduc d’Autreville, A31)
PK 339.3     Overhead power line
PK 339.5     End of diversion canal, Autreville-sur-Moselle r/b
PK 340.5     Overhead power lines
PK 340.9     Bridge
PK 341.0     Entrance to Belleville diversion canal, l/b
PK 341.5     Motorway bridge (A31 Metz-Nancy)
PK 342.0     Marbache, l/b
PK 343.0     End of diversion canal
PK 343.7     Lock (Custines), VHF 20, lift 3.85m, footbridge
PK 344.6     Bridge (Custines 1000m)
PK 344.8     Railway bridge (Nomeny branch line)
PK 344.9     Loading quay r/b
PK 345.2     Road and railway bridge (Pompey steel works)
PK 345.4     Entrance to Pompey/Custines diversion canal, l/b
PK 345.6     Bridge
PK 346.5     Junction with branch to port of Nancy-Frouard and Canal de la Marne au Rhin, east branch, r/bJonction Plan Moselle Frouard
PK 346.7     Railway bridge
PK 346.9     Pompey l/b, Frouard r/b, bridge (D657), pontoon  u/s l/b for 4 boats, night €9.47,  water, electricity, shower
PK 347.8     Lock (Pompey-Frouard), VHF 20, lift 2.70m, in 1000m diversion l/b
PK 351.7     Railway bridge
PK 351.9     Former Liverdun aqueduct of Canal de la Marne au Rhin (destroyed)
PK 352.1     Liverdun bridge, small town 600m l/b
PK 352.9     Castle (Château de la Flye) r/b
PK 353.6     Railway bridge
PK 354.2     Access to moorings for Liverdun l/b, slipway
PK 355.7     Lock (Aingeray), VHF 20, lift 7.30m, in 700m diversion r/b, bridge
PK 360.9     End of Villey-Saint-Étienne/Valcourt diversion canal
PK 363.3     Bridge (Fontenoy)
PK 363.8     Railway bridge
PK 364.0     Lock (Fontenoy), VHF 20, lift 4.40m, bridge
PK 366.5     Bridge (Gondreville)
PK 369.1     Bridge (D904)
PK 369.5     Junction with Canal de la Marne au Rhin, western section, l/b (350m link canal with one lock)
PK 369.6     Bridge (Toul)
PK 370.4     Railway bridge
PK 370.9     Bridge (D400, avenue Maréchal Foch)
PK 371.0     Toul lock, VHF 20, lift 4.40m, parallel lock in old canal, footbridge, town with all shops l/b
PK 372.5     Bridge
PK 372.6     Motorway bridge (A31)
PK 373.0     Entrance to diversion canal (Villey-Saint-Étienne/ Valcourt), middle channel, Moselle on the right, former Canal de l’Est on the left, to be taken by boats
PK 376.1     Pierre-la-Treiche bridge, village 300m
PK 379.3     Lock (Villey-le-Sec), VHF 20, lift 7.20m, in 1200m diversion, l/b, bridge
PK 384.3     Former lock 50 (Sexey-les-Forges) l/b, destroyed
PK 386.8     Maron bridge, village r/b
PK 387.3     End of Maron/Neuves-Maisons diversion canal
PK 388.8     Turning basin
PK 389.6     Footbridge
PK 391.9     Neuves-Maisons bridge, town centre 1000m r/b, Pont-Saint-Vincent 400m l/b
PK 392.2     Railway bridge
PK 392.4     Lock (Neuves-Maisons), VHF 20, lift 7.10m, bridge
PK 392.6     Neuves-Maisons steel works, private basin r/b
PK 393.1     Pipeline crossing
PK 394.0     Junction with Canal des Vosges, d/s of lock 47, turning basin

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