Belgium: EU Supports Development Projects

EU Supports Development Projects

The EU has granted 16.24 million euros of subsidies to Flanders for five water-related projects as part of the Trans-European Network of Transport (TEN-T). Some of these projects are of great importance for Antwerp.

TEN-T is made up of major international corridors for transport by road, water or rail, with the idea of supporting the unified European market. Increasingly the emphasis is on sustainability. To support the development of this transport network the EU has made a budget of 146.63 million euros available in 2012. Of this amount, 16 million euros will be devoted to projects that are important for Flanders.

For construction of the second lock connecting the Deurganck dock with the other docks in the Waasland port, the EU is making 5 million euros available to subsidise the earthworks and concrete structures due to be built in the period 2012-2014. This represents 5% of the total price tag of 100 million euros. The second lock will significantly improve the maritime access to the port area on the left bank. At the moment the Waasland port can only be reached via the Kallo lock, which is already operating at full capacity.

EU subsidies are also being made available for improvements to the Albert canal. The canal will be widened at Schoten and Merksem, several bridges will be raised and modifications will be made to four bridges for pusher barges (Olen, Kwaadmechelen, Hasselt and Diepenbeek). This will make the entire length of the canal from Antwerp to Liège accessible to class VI vessels. Moreover, container barges will be able to carry boxes stacked four-high. The EU will pay 10% of the total investment of 33.42 million euros.

The same applies to the modernisation programme for the Sea Canal from Brussels to the Scheldt, with the EU paying 1.7 million euros or 10% of the total cost for work in Willebroek. The improvements will make the canal more accessible to seagoing ships and barges up to 10,000 tonnes. Among other things this will require a depth of 9.5 metres and a free passage of at least 55 metres.

Subsidies are also being made available for the new sea lock on the Ghent-Terneuzen canal and studies for upgrading the Seine-Scheldt network.

According to Flemish Transport minister Hilde Crevits the EU’s keenness to co-finance the projects demonstrates the importance of Europe as a financial hub.

[mappress]

Source: portofantwerp, August 8, 2012

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