Belgium: Unlocking inland waterways in the heart of Europe with EIB support
13 November 2015
This morning, the EIB 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 225x25 meter lock, before moving on to open a new river harbour 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 manoeuver up to four smaller-sized river barges through the lock at any one time, significantly heightening the locks’ capacity and speeding up traffic.
For the EIB, as stated by Vice President van Ballekom, it is a key priority to support the development of sustainable transport networks. Inland water transport is one of the most energy-efficiency and least polluting modes of transport available. It is at the spearhead in the fight against climate change. For this reason and the economic benefits that it will bring along, the opening of the lock of Lanaye is a key milestone for the region at large.
Lanaye actually presented a “missing link” in the Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube link-up of the European TEN-T programme 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.
The EIB Group has stepped up its level of precaution at its headquarters in Luxembourg and in its external offices. All staff will telework as of 16 March. A small number of staff whose physical presence on EIB premises is indispensable will continue to be present on the EIB campus. The decision aims to protect the health of employees and ensure the continuity of the EIB Group’s activity.
On Wednesday the EIB identified its first case of one staff member who tested positive for corona virus.
As a precautionary measure, the EIB decided not to hold the meeting of its Board of Directors planned for Thursday 12 March in person. Decisions on the Board’s agenda will be taken by written procedure. The Bank has put in place measures to prevent disruption to its governance or operation approval schedule.
On Monday 2 March, the former President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, visited the EIB in Luxembourg on a joint invitation from the Bank, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the Court of Auditors.