The IJssel is an important link for shipping and forms the access road to the Twenthe canals. The river is also popular with tourists.

The IJssel does not fully meet the requirements set by the shipping industry. In many places the IJssel is actually too narrow and too shallow, especially in the part IJsselkop – Zutphen. Especially the bends cause problems. Ships can regularly only sail with a limited cargo. Another problem is the lack of berths, as a result of which ships often moor directly along the channel. That creates dangerous situations. Rijkswaterstaat is investigating what can be done about this. Possible solutions are:

  • increasing the radius of curves (by means of curvature corrections)
  • widening of the channel
  • resting and overnight berths

Radius of bends and corrections

The radius of a bend is the space a ship has to take a bend.  A radius of 800 metres is minimal for modern shipping.

A number of bends in the IJssel are far too narrow for modern shipping. This is the case for bends with a radius of less than 500 metres. The minimum is a radius of 800 metres, but 1200 metres is better. Increasing the radius of the bend has a double effect: the channel becomes wider and the larger radius of the bend means that shipping needs less width. Unfortunately, increasing the radius of the bend is at the expense of the draught.

It is not yet clear whether all the desired extensions can be applied, because the river must not become too shallow. More drastic measures are needed at the bends near Nijenbeek and Deventer. Further research should show what the best solution is there.

Widening the channel

You cannot widen the channel of the IJssel indefinitely, because it becomes too shallow. But a little bit of widening is of course possible. This is particularly useful for very tight bends with a radius of less than 500 metres. The widening of the waterway is usually done by dredging. But there are also other methods, such as the use of bottom screens, bottom groynes and the application of a fixed level. These methods ensure that the inner bends of the river do not clog up.

Resting and overnight berths

There must be overnight ports along the river IJssel. These are ports where ships can find a safe and quiet berth, for example to spend the night, without getting in the way. This prevents accidents. Through traffic is less delayed because it does not have to adjust its speed.