Flemish minister Ben Weyts (Mobility and Public Works) and Dutch minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure and Environmental Affairs) signed the ‘Treaty between the Netherlands and Flanders for the construction of the new lock Terneuzen’ today (Thursday).
Ghent Port Company said it was delighted about the historical moment as the new lock will improve the access to the ports of Ghent and Terneuzen. Moreover, the new lock will provide a smoother passage of inland vessels between the Netherlands, Belgium and France. It is expected that the lock will be ready in 2021. The construction of the new lock is the biggest investment in port infrastructure ever for Ghent Port Company.
This new lock is important both for Flanders and for the Netherlands. It will improve the maritime access to the ports of Ghent and Terneuzen and will also reduce waiting times for inland navigation. Moreover, by increasing the total capacity of the lock complex, the corridor possibilities in the direction of France will also improve. This will be of benefit to the economies of Flanders and the Netherlands and also of the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal zone. Besides, the New Lock Terneuzen will improve the air quality as the vessels will have shorter waiting times before passing through.
Ghent, being a multimodal port, is situated at the crossroads of the European inland waters, motorways and railway lines. Consequently, the new lock is crucial for making Ghent grow, further developing itself, strengthening its international position, creating new jobs and attracting investors. Moreover, the realisation of the lock will be of benefit to the cooperation between Ghent Port Company and Zeeland Seaports (the ports of Terneuzen and Flushing).
The signing of the lock treaty took place at the lock complex in Terneuzen, in the presence of among others the president of Ghent Port Company Mathias De Clercq and CEO Daan Schalck, the mayor of Terneuzen Jan Lonink and representatives of a number of companies that frequently use the lock complex.
The New Lock Terneuzen will be a lock that will roughly be as long and as wide as the renewed locks on the Panama Canal. It will be located where the ‘Middensluis’ is now situated, this is one of the three existing locks.
Construction of the lock is expected to cost €920 million. The cost for its maintenance during 30 years is estimated at €75m. The Netherlands will pay €155m and Flanders will bear the remaining expenses. Of the Dutch contribution, the Zeeland region will take care of paying €10 million. From the Flemish side, Ghent Port Company will take up 15%. Depending on the estimate and the European subsidies, this contribution will amount to somewhere between €71m and €95m.
In order to finance this contribution, Ghent Port Company is building up the necessary reserves in the financial long-range planning. Moreover, the expected entry of the province of East Flanders into Ghent Port Company’s management will provide additional financial means. This financial contribution to the construction of the new lock is for Ghent Port Company the biggest investment in port infrastructure ever.