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Port of Ghent

Flanders and the Netherlands break ground for construction of the New Lock at Terneuzen

Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Ben Weyts and Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen have officially broken ground for the construction of one of the world’s largest locks: the New Lock at Terneuzen. For Ghent Port Company, this is the largest investment ever made.

The construction of the New Lock at Terneuzen will extend access to the port areas of Ghent and Terneuzen. To offer shipping traffic enough room and allow it to sail through the Middle Lock longer during construction, the ministers broke ground for the transit channel on Monday 13 November. 

Investing in the future
“For Ghent Port Company, this is the largest investment ever made. Its importance can therefore not be overstated: the New Lock is ideal for the further development of the port and the companies located there,” said Mathias de Clercq, the chairman of Ghent Port Company. “A milestone in the history of the port of Ghent,” adds the CEO of Ghent Port Company, Daan Schalck. “Ships are getting bigger, and these bigger ships must also be able to pass through the lock complex.”

Across borders
“The construction of the New Lock at Terneuzen is one of the priorities in the Flemish government agreement to ensure the accessibility of Flemish seaports,” Flemish Minister of Mobility Ben Weyts said. “I am therefore pleased to be breaking ground today together with my colleague Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen. We are making a bold investment with the New Lock at Terneuzen, and there are no longer any limits to the growth in the Ghent Canal Zone. On the contrary, we will grow at the border! We expect a considerable increase in cargo transport by 2030. It is not an option to transport all the extra freight by road. That’s why we are investing heavily in alternatives, such as our waterways.”

Why a new lock?
The lock complex in Terneuzen gives access to the ports of Ghent and Terneuzen and is also a crucial link in the Seine-Schelde connection. The New Lock will provide better access and an easier flow of the increasing amount of shipping traffic. Ships of 120,000 tonnes will be able to transit through the Ghent-Terneuzen canal. Compared to the current Western lock, the New Lock will be 2.5 m deeper, 15 m wider, 137 m longer and a great deal faster. Flanders and the Netherlands can count on a considerable economic boost due to the New Lock and the resulting improved infrastructure. 

Cross-border cooperation
The construction of the New Lock is an excellent example of cross-border cooperation. In 2012, Flanders and the Netherlands jointly decided to start preparations for the construction of a new, larger lock. In 2015, both regions signed the Treaty for the effective construction of the New Lock at Terneuzen. This project is being carried out under the auspices of the Flemish-Dutch Scheldt Commission (VNSC). 

After an intensive tendering process, the Flemish-Dutch consortium Sassevaart emerged as the winner to build the New Lock. The consortium consists of the Flemish companies DEME Infra Marine Contractors bv, Dredging International and Algemene Aannemingen Van Laere nv and the Dutch companies BAM Infra bv and BAM Contractors nv. Sassevaart tendered to build the New Lock for the sum of EUR 753,346,000 (including VAT). 

The first ship will be able to sail through the New Lock in 2022. The Netherlands is investing over EUR 190 million. Flanders will take on the remaining costs. Over EUR 48 million will be drawn from the European CEF funds, and Ghent Port Company will also contribute EUR 88.6 million to the Flemish share. The New Lock will give all companies in the Canal zone a boost. But it is above all a powerful lever for more freight traffic via the waterway.

Published on Tuesday 14 November 2017
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