Inauguration of the Kieldrecht lock in Antwerp Port, Belgium

By Curious

The Kieldrecht lock is officially due to begin operation, an event that we're all looking forward to. On 10 June the port of Antwerp will receive a visit from H.M. the King of Belgium who will officially open the Kieldrecht lock, the largest in the world.

On 11 and 12 June members of the public will have the opportunity to admire the new lock and its surroundings from way up high.

Experience the port and the lock from high up

The largest lock in the world deserves a large celebration, literally and metaphorically. The main attraction at the event will be a giant Ferris wheel that will afford an unforgettable view of the port. The programme also includes a photographic exhibition. Construction of the Kieldrecht lock is one of the largest Flemish infrastructure projects of the past few years. The exhibition will show the progress of this imposing structure and the many milestones along the way. It will be officially opened by H.M. the King on the day before the ceremonial weekend.

The importance of the second lock on the left bank

Construction of the Kieldrecht lock was necessary in order to ensure better access to the port area on the Left bank of the Scheldt, as the existing Kallo lock had reached its limits. The new lock will also benefit companies in this part of the port as well as providing security of operation, as each lock can act as a backup for the other. The return on this investment will take the form of greater maritime, industrial and logistical activity in the port of Antwerp.

Inauguration of the Kieldrecht lock in Antwerp Port, Belgium

The Kieldrecht lock in Antwerp Port, Belgium - Image courtesy: Belgian Government

Importance for Flanders and the significance for Europe

A project such as the second lock on the Left bank is crucial for Flanders. It is one of the key projects for the Flemish government and forms part of the objectives of the Pact 2020 plan which states that the accessibility of the Flemish ports must be safeguarded.

Thanks to the Kieldrecht lock the port of Antwerp will be able to handle the increased size of modern ships and to maintain and even reinforce the port's leading position in Europe. The new lock offers many advantages including:

- Shorter waiting times for ships,
- More shipping traffic and thus greater added value,
- Faster routes for ships and for hinterland transport.

The project also fits in with the ambition of the European Union to develop a transnational, multimodal transport network by 2030. The port of Antwerp is an important hub for the new EU core transport network. Seaports play a crucial role as logistics centres and have need of efficient hinterland connections. Their development is essential in order to cope with the constantly growing cargo volumes, both for shortsea shipping within Europe and for intercontinental shipping.

Facts & Figures

- Location: at the end of the Deurganck dock on the Left bank of the Scheldt and with a maritime connection between the Scheldt and the Waasland canal
- Via this lock ships have access to all the other docks on the Left bank: Doel dock, Verrebroek dock, Vrasene dock and the Northern and Southern Mooring docks
- Largest lock in the world
- 500 metres long, 68 metres wide and 17.8 metres deep (below the local datum point)
- 22,000 tonnes of steel (three times as much as the Eiffel tower)
- Construction start date: 21 November 2011
- Construction work uncovers the skeleton of a 3.5 million year old whale: December 2013
- Open to the general public to walk around: 7 and 8 March 2015
- The artist Cazn works in the lock for 10 weeks on a wall painting 300 metres wide and 9 metres high: end of April 2015
- It takes seven days to fill the lock with water: April 2015
- The name "Kieldrecht lock" chosen by the public: 15 January 2016.

Source: Port of Antwerp