The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide €165 million to support the construction of a new sea lock at Ijmuiden, which is the principal access point for the Port of Amsterdam.
The lock will replace the old Noordersluis lock, which was built in 1929, and will ensure that the next generation of bulk carriers, container ships and cruise ships can continue to move in a timely fashion in and out of the Port of Amsterdam and the North Sea Canal.
“90 percent of Europe’s international trade passes through ports and upgrading the Ijmuiden sea lock complex is crucial to ensuring the Port of Amsterdam’s leading role,” said Pim van Ballekom, EIB vice president, in a statement.
The new lock will be 500 metres long, 70 metres wide and 18 metres deep and will be able to operate in all tides. It will support economic activity along the North Sea Canal and for companies using the Port of Amsterdam, which is Europe’s fourth-busiest port.
While the EIB is providing around 33 percent of the total €500 million in debt finance, a consortium of banks comprising Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, UniCredit Bank, DZ Bank and KfW IPEX-Bank is also involved. The Netherlands’ Rabobank is providing an equity bridge facility.
The lock is being procured as a public-private partnership (PPP) by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment through the Rijkswaterstraat unit, supported by the province of North Holland and the municipality of Amsterdam.
The PPP comprises a 30-year concession period – 4 years of construction and 26 years of maintenance – with the loans to be repaid during the operational phase.