The likely contractor for a huge lock project of vital importance to the port of Amsterdam has been announced.
Rijkswaterstaat, part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, yesterday announced its intention to award the contract for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of a new lock in IJmuiden to the OpenIJ consortium. This consists of BAM, Volker Wessels and DIF.
The lock, at 500 m long, 70 m wide and 18 m deep is officially known as the New Maritime Access IJmond project and is one of the largest projects of its kind in Europe.
At present, the IJmuiden lock complex comprises of four locks – the Small Lock, the Southern Lock, the Middle Lock and the Northern Lock. The new Northern lock is to be built at the current lock complex that constitutes the maritime entrance to the North Sea Canal and subsequently to the port of Amsterdam.
The Northern Lock is the largest one – 400 m long, 50 m wide and 15 m deep – yet these dimensions are judged insufficient to cope with current and future demands of the shipping industry, with ships that are continuously growing in size.
For the Port of Amsterdam in particular, it is vital to take into account the increasing scale of general cargo vessels, bulk carriers and cruise vessels.
Since the existing Northern Lock is almost 90 years old – it was built in 1929 – and is approaching the end of its technical lifespan, Rijkswaterstaat as owner of the lock, in cooperation with the Province of North-Holland, the Municipality of Amsterdam and the Port of Amsterdam, has decided to replace it with a new and much larger one.
Construction is scheduled to start in 2016 with the new lock expected to be ready for operations in 2019. The OpenIJ consortium contract will run for 30 years, four for the construction phase and 26 for the maintenance phase.
The old Northern Lock will be kept operational throughout the construction phase of the new lock and then decommissioned once the new lock is completed.
It is part of Rijkswaterstaat’s current “Lock Program”, which comprises six projects. Apart from Ijmuiden, these are the Limmel barrage lock, ‘second pound’ Eefde, ‘third pound’ Beatrix lock, Terneuzen maritime lock and the Afsluitdijk.