OREANDA-NEWS. The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide EUR 165 million to support the construction of a new sea lock at IJmuiden, the principal access to the Port of Amsterdam. The current Noordersluis lock was built in 1929 and the new larger lock will ensure that the next generation of bulk carriers, container ships and cruise ships can continue to access the Port of Amsterdam and the North Sea Canal, and is expected to reduce waiting time for ships.

“90% 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. Amsterdam has more distribution centres than any other region in Europe and the port supports companies dependent on logistics across the Netherlands and northern Europe. The European Investment Bank is pleased to support the upgrade of the strategically important IJmuiden locks alongside an impressive consortium of sponsors and project finance banks. This demonstrates the EIB’s firm commitment to supporting Dutch infrastructure of national and international importance, following recent backing for upgrading Schiphol Airport and enlarging the Port of Rotterdam.” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.

The new sea lock will be 500m long, 70m wide and 18m deep and able to operate in all tides. The IJmuiden sea lock will support economic activity both along the North Sea canal and for companies using the Port of Amsterdam, Europe’s fourth busiest port.

Europe’s long-term investment institution will provide 33% of the debt financing for the project, alongside a consortium of banks including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, UniCredit Bank, DZ BANK and KfW IPEX-Bank, whereas Rabobank is providing an equity bridge facility.

The lock is procured as a public private partnership of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment through Rijkswaterstaat and is supported by the province of North Holland and the municipality of Amsterdam.

In the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided nearly EUR 7 billion for port related investment across Europe and around the world, including backing improvements and expansion at ports in Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Le Havre, Southampton and Liverpool. Support for port investment in the Netherlands represents the second port largest engagement by the EIB in any European country.