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Belgium: Inland navigation

Last modified: 2014-03-29 by ivan sache
Keywords: inland navigation | canal flag | mourning flag | blokvlag | letters: vbr (red) | protestant | tree (black) | tree: creeping willow |
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Canal flag (Blokvlag)


Canal flag - Image by Thomas Maes, 15 March 2003

The flag made of a white rectangle on a red field is called the canal flag (blokvlag) in inland shipping. It is hoisted on the bows of barges and the like.

Jan Mertens, 15 March 2003

Inland navigation mourning flag

[Mourning pennant]

Protestant mourning pennant - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 16 January 2010

Illustrating a custom known to exist in a few countries through national examples, the searchable Antwerp municipal image bank shows, when searching for rouwwimpel, a Protestant mourning pennant, 95 cm in height and 54 cm in width, charged with a weeping willow inscribed in a white disk. The pennant has a white fringe.

Jan Mertens, 8 December 2008

Association of Belgian Shipowners of Inland and Rhine Navigation (Vereniging Belgische Reders der Binnen- en Rijnvaart)

[Flag of VBR]

Flag of VBR - Image by António Martins, 6 February 2007

According to the Kantoor Binnenvaart website (page no longer online), the flag of the Vereniging Belgische Reders der Binnen- en Rijnvaart, based in Schoten, is yellow with narrow blue and black horizontal edges, and the letters VBR in red in the middle.
From a VBR table flag, the ratio of the stripes seems to be (2:1:9:1:2):25, making an overall ratio of 3:5.

Jan Mertens & António Martins, 6 February 2007

Flemish Inland Navigation Promotion Office (Promotie Binnenvaart Vlaanderen)

The Flemish Inland Navigation Promotion Office (Promotie Binnenvaart Vlaanderen, PBV) is located at Hasselt, near the important Albert Canal linking Liège and Antwerp. Quoting the PBV website:

Following a 1996 European Directive, inland navigation has been liberalized. In Flanders, the Directive was implemented on 1 December 1998, more than one year before the all-Europe obligation became law. Before the liberalization, inland navigation was a rather closed mode of transport, and cargo was assigned by rotation on a so-called shipping-exchange. This system guaranteed a regular job and minimum transport prices, but in the final count it slowed down the development of inland navigation. Those countries that were the first to liberalize inland navigation, were able to reap the benefits sooner than others. In Flanders, liberalization went hand in hand with a strong increase in volumes of shipped goods.

The flag of PBV is shown on the cover of the 2005 Annual Report (no longer available online). The flag is horizontally divided white-blue (1:4) with the words PROMOTIE / BINNENVAART VLAANDEREN in the lower half of the field and the office's logotype in the upper hoist. The logotype consists mainly of a three-bladed yellow screw outlined in black and with a central black ring surmounted by a small stylized Flemish lion in black. The letters have no serifs and PROMOTIE, in a much thinner font, is placed above BINNENVAART. Here the Flemish lion is the one prescribed for printing, not for use on real flags.
A pennant of PBV was on sale on eBay Germany in October 2006; the pennant includes the lion and is divided 1:2 rather than 1:4.

On the PBV website, the lion has been dropped from the logotype; I remember it well seeing it on the site in the past so the aforementioned pictures really show a previous version. Logically, this implies a new version of the flag I have not encountered yet.
A sighting in Antwerp harbour docks in December 2006 confirms that, on the flag, the little lion has indeed been plucked away from its position above the screw and now appears, rather bigger, in the white stripe at the end of the hoist.

Jan Mertens, 15 December 2006

National Chamber of Private Inland Navigation (Chambre Nationale de la Batellerie Artisanale)

Shippers' Alliance on the Sambre in Belgium (Alliance Batelière de la Sambre Belge)

Shippers' Alliance of the Sambre in Belgium (Alliance Batelière de la Sambre Belge, ASBB), founded on 1 January 1968 and based in Thuin, is an insurance firm addressing inland navigators.

The flag of ASBB can be seen as a drawing on the Vlootschouw website. Such a flag, measuring 45 x 95 cm, was on sale on eBay Belgium (French version) in June 2005; the flag is white with a black ship sailing towards the hoist on blue waves and placed between blue serifed initials AB and SB, respectively. The place name THUIN is added below the ship in black letters, somewhat smaller, and without serifs.

Jan Mertens, 4 November 2006

Shipping Ltd (N.V. De Scheepvaart)

N.V. De Scheepvaart (Shipping Ltd), founded in 2004 and established at Hasselt, is an official Flemish body exploiting the eastern part of Flanders' navigable waterways and relating to stakeholders concerned with inland navigation.
The Albert Canal linking the port of Antwerp to the River Maas (Meuse) is the backbone of the system. Of equal importance is the Scheldt-Rhine connection north of Antwerp, providing a link to the large Dutch rivers and the port of Rotterdam.
Services rendered, beside offering relevant technical information, are, for instance, exploiting industrial sites near waterways; promoting the development of additional loading and unloading terminals (in many cases owned by the Region); promoting pleasure boating and other leisure activities; having locks and other infrastructure built, maintained, and manned; etc.

De Scheepvaart uses a blue flag bearing the name and a waterborne stylized letter "S" in white with another tiny letter "S", in blue, in the centre of the large "S". The name "nv De Scheepvaart", in italics, is added below the emblem.

Jan Mertens, 9 May 2008

United Bargemen (Les Bateliers réunis)

Les Bateliers réunis is a Belgian non-profit organization currently established at Marchienne-au-Pont to the east of Charleroi, on the canal linking that town to Brussels. It is a recognized professional association.

A flag of the association, offerred on eBay in June 2005, is white with "Les Bateliers réunis" in blue letters near the bottom and above that - near the hoist - a stylized (florid) steering wheel in black and - in the fly - large initials "ASBL" (red, orange, green, and blue, respectively). The abbreviation "ASBL" is larger than the name. It means Association sans but lucratif, that is "non-profit organization". THe dimensiosn of the flag are given as 75 cm x 95 cm.

Jan Mertens, 30 December 2008