World’s largest sea lock due to open at IJmuiden (photo: Rijkswaterstaat)
The new lock in IJmuiden, the gateway for the Port of Amsterdam, will officially be put into service on 26 January.
Displacing Antwerp’s Kieldrechtsluis as the world’s largest sea lock, the new IJmuiden lock measures 400m long x 70m wide x 18m deep, which is 2m wider than the Kieldrechtsluis.
IJmuiden’s Noordersluis, the former main lock, measures 400m x50m x 15m, which in itself is impressive, especially given that it was finished in 1929.
Noordersluis will be kept in service for the next three years, officially as ‘back-up’, but mainly to curb salt water influx into the Canal. Trial passages through the new lock have been under way for some weeks.
To safeguard agricultural and drinking water supplies, the new lock will predominantly be used for the biggest ships through to 2024, pending the construction of a massive concrete salt water containment trough. This is due for completion in 2025 and the lock will then be open for all shipping.
The 2022 completion is two years overdue, mostly as the design of the sliding doors proved too weak, which led to the design and construction of new ones. This and other delays cost the construction consortium, which featured BAM and VolkerWessels, €210M; such setbacks having been shielded by Rijkswaterstaat in the initial contract