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Kieldrecht Lock ready to bring more prosperity to Flanders

Staff writer |
King Filip, minister Ben Weyts, the chairman of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer and alderman Marc Van Peel of Antwerp, in charge of port affairs, have inaugurated the huge Kieldrecht Lock.

This biggest lock in the world has a price tag of €382 million and ensures smooth access to the Waasland harbour. The Kieldrecht Lock strengthens the competitiveness of the Port of Antwerp and will attract new economic activity to Flanders.

The Grande Lagos of shipping company Grimaldi was granted the honour of entering the brand-new Kieldrecht Lock as the very first ship. With a length of 500 m, a width of 68 m and an operational depth (TAW) of some 17.80 m, the biggest lock in the world can accommodate the largest seagoing vessels.

The Maritieme Toegang (maritime access) of the Department of Mobility and Public Works, together with the Port Authority of Antwerp and a building consortium, had been building the Kieldrecht Lock for almost 5 years, making the project one of the biggest Flemish works in the past few years.

The Kieldrecht Lock enables smooth access to the Waasland harbour in Antwerp. Until then, the smaller Kallo Lock was the only gate to the Waasland harbour. This meant that the ships could have to wait for more than three hours.

Any problem with the Kallo Lock could paralyse the whole Waasland harbour. The Kieldrecht Lock now enables a second, bigger, more upstream access to the docks on the left bank of the Scheldt river. In future, the ships can expect faster and smoother access to the harbour.

The government of Flanders and the Port Authority of Antwerp had together invested €382 million to realise the Kieldrecht Lock. Flanders had assumed 75% of the investment costs.

The port of Antwerp as a main port is an important junction in the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). Through the TEN-T network, Europe wants to promote sustainable transportation, job creation and economic growth and the cohesion within the European Union.

For the EIB the new lock constitutes a strategic infrastructure asset for Europe, increasing the navigation capabilities, ensuring maritime and river transport and increasing the international attractiveness of the Port of Antwerp.

Via the company NV Deurganckdoksluis, the government of Flanders and the Port Authority of Antwerp invested €382 million in the construction of the second lock for the Waasland harbour.

The European Investment Bank and KBC Bank lent €160.5 million and €71.3 million respectively. Via the TEN-T programme, Europe granted a subsidy of €5 million for the construction of the Kieldrecht Lock.

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