The construction activities on the site of the new sea lock in Ijmuiden can be clearly seen while you are on private day tours Amsterdam. The old sea locks of Ijmuiden for a long time helped the seagoing vessels to reach Amsterdam. However, the modern ships were unable to pass through it. The construction of a new major sea lock with the help of KfW IPEX-Bank is now in process to bridge this gap.
You would be able to see how cautiously a traffic controller is guiding the 199 meters long and 32 meters wide “Gracious Ace” across the sea lock. Nevertheless, when the construction of the new sea lock is complete the ships that are twice the size of “Gracious Ace” will be able to go through the port of Amsterdam.
Ijmuiden is situated at the opening of the North Sea Channel, which is 27-kilometer-long. It is this channel, which acts as a link between the Amsterdam and the sea. The new sea lock being constructed by the Dutch Government is 500 meters long, 70 meters wide and 18 meters deep, which will be the World’s largest sea lock when its construction is complete.
Amsterdam handled about 95 million tons of cargo in 2015 and was ranked the 4th largest European port. The agricultural products, fertilizer or fossil fuels are the main items unloaded in the docks of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is also the largest petrol port on the planet.
The construction activities in the construction site are at full swing now with the ships transferring wheel loaders and excavators. You could see the floating cranes anchoring the underwater base. Even with the ongoing construction activities, the traffic on the channel goes without any interruption. Jaap Blokland stated that the “tight schedule” is the most challenging part of the project. OpenIJ has designed the outer gates of this sea lock with the same height as of the inner gates. This means that only a replacement gate is needed to be built rather than building two replacement gates and hence they reduced its cost.
Rijkswaterstaat, which is a part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, is the contracting agency of this 500 million euro project. Some of the financial assistance for undertaking this project came from Germany. KfW IPEX-Bank along with the European Investment Bank and private banks are financing the project.