Unlocking Inland Waterways
The European Investment Bank today took part in the inauguration of the fourth lock in the Belgian town of Lanaye, close to Liege and just across the border from the Dutch city of Maastricht.
In the company of several Belgian and Dutch Ministers and EIB Vice President Pim van Ballekom, King Philip of the Belgians officially inaugurated the new 225×25 meter lock, before moving on to open a new river harbor facility called Trilogiport near Liege.
The Lanaye facility is part of a larger EIB financing operation totalling EUR 125 million that also involved the similar new lock further south at Yvoz-Ramet – inaugurated in September – as well as dredging works to deepen the Meuse river between the two locks.
With today’s opening, river transport of up to 9000 tonnes (equalling the load of some 450 20-tonne road trucks) can transit from the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp all the way to Liege and Namur.
The same operation has made it possible to maneuver up to four smaller-sized river barges through the lock at any one time, significantly heightening the locks’ capacity and speeding up traffic.
Lanaye actually presented a “missing link” in the Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube link-up of the European TEN-T program since 1996.
This fact, together with river transport generally being more environmentally friendly per transported tonne than heavy trucks, made that the project also received EU funding.