Translations Best practice in French version Best practice in English version

LESAFFRE develops river transport for molasses

4. Environment

Sustainable mobility


Lesaffre, a manufacturing company located by the canal of La Marque in Marcq-en-Barœul, consumes high quantities of fermentation substrates (molasses and liquid sugar) for the production of yeast. These raw materials derived from the sugar-making process are conveyed both by road and river.

As a global key player in yeasts and fermentation, Lesaffre desings, manufactures and markets innovative solutions for Baking, Food taste & pleasure, Health Care and Biotechnology. Family group in northern France in 1853, now a multi-national and a multicultural company, Lesaffre employs 8 300 people.


  •  To maximise river transport to carry 50% of fermentation substrates using canals in the short run. 


Molasses is mainly transported from sugar-making plants by road. Imported molasses (from sugar cane) are transported by sea, usually stored at the port of Dunkirk and later conveyed by barge to Marcq-en-Barœul.

To develop river transport:

  • Following negotiations with suppliers, preference is given to loading points connected to waterways, including from Germany and the Netherlands, with the use of large capacity barges up to 1,300 T in these 2 cases.
  • As for unloading, in addition to the storage site of Wavrin, a warehouse in Prouvy (near Valenciennes) was bought and improved to be adjusted to river transport to develop river transport.
  •  Lesaffre ensures that barges operate on a permanent basis for better productivity, for the best interest of the company and bargees.

Best Practice spotted in 2010 by the World Forum for a Sustainable Economy and updatedin 2015.


  •  Reduced costs, in particular reduced energy consumption
  •  Goods are appropriate for this type of transport
  • Secured supply in consideration of the weather
  • Experience to be developed: a study is underway for the river transport of other raw materials.
  • The purchase of greater quantities of substrate from Germany and the Netherlands has increased the fraction of river transport.


  •  1 barge = 230 to 330 tonnes (depending on the depth of the canal), i.e. the equivalent of 9 to 13 tankers
  • Reduced road traffic: 5,000 less trucks per year
  • Less pollution, less nuisance, less CO2 emission
  • Oxygenation of canal water and improved biodiversity
8,300 (2015)
1.6 milliards euros (2015)


137, rue Gabriel Péri


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Mise à jour le 23/05/2016

Creative Commons Attribution This work by Réseau Alliances – World Forum Lille is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.