The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 200 million to the Havenbedrijf Rotterdam N.V. (Port of Rotterdam) for the construction of a new container terminal. The terminal, EUROMAX, will reinforce Rotterdam's role as Europe's largest cargo and container port, improving transport links within the EU and between the EU and third countries.

The finance contract was signed today by Philippe Maystadt, EIB President, and Mr Willem Scholten, Director of the Port of Rotterdam, the former Rotterdam Municipal Port Management. Mr Maystadt said: The port of Rotterdam has a very favourable geographic location and is a major European import and export gateway for industries. The EIB, as the EU's financing institution, is supporting the port's expansion as it will reinforce the trans-European network of seaports.

The new terminal will have a quay length of 1800 meters, a draught of 19,65 meters and a surface of 100 ha (which can all be extended in a second phase). The Port of Rotterdam will carry out the construction and dredging, while EUROMAX, a joint venture between container terminal operators and transporters would carry out the building and supply equipment. The works will begin in the first half of 2005 and should be completed by the end of 2008. The new terminal will be progressively operational after 2007.

Over the next fifteen years, container traffic is expected to grow at about 8% per year and the capacity added by EUROMAX will be sufficient to accommodate traffic growth until 2011.

Global Loan with BNG

During his visit to the Netherlands, the European Investment Bank's President also signed a EUR 100 million Global Loan with the BNG (Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten) in The Hague. This Global Loan, a line of credit, will finance small- and medium sized projects in public infrastructure, health and education in The Netherlands.