New sea lock
The largest sea lock in the world
The new lock will be 500 metres long, 70 metres wide and 18 metres deep, making it the world’s largest sea lock. Construction began in January 2016 and the new lock will be available for shipping early 2022.
In the coming months, OpenIJ is working on the final stages of the construction of Zeesluis IJmuiden. This summer, OpenIJ delivers the largest sea lock in the world to Rijkswaterstaat. This will be followed by an extensive test phase of the lock gates (number 3 on the picture). Tests with sea-going ships are schedules as from October.
In March 2021, the last two lock gates on the canal side were successfully installed. The whole operation lasted four days. Edgar Breedveld and Victor Arnolds were involved in this milestone achievement. They directed the positioning process and ensured a good outcome.
Zeesluis IJmuiden will soon be ready for use. But first, staff will have to master the ins and outs of operating the lock. Mia Dröge is Strategic Advisor to the Harbour Master's Division of Port of Amsterdam. Together with a team, she will ensure that the lock can be operated safely.
A larger lock means bigger ships and more salt water. The locking process creates large volumes of fresh or salt water flowing into or out of the lock and water turbulence may scour out holes near the inner and outer lock heads, undermining them.
Why a new sea lock?
- The North Lock will reach the end of its technical service life in 2029 and has become too small for today’s ever-larger seagoing vessels.
- The New Sea Lock is tide-independent and can be used 24/7.
- A new large sea lock allows new-generation larger vessels to pass through the North Sea Canal smoothly and safely.
- With a larger lock, the port has the possibility to grow from today’s 90 million tons to 125 million tons of goods handled per year.
Who is carrying out the work?
Commissioned by Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management), the new sea lock in IJmuiden will be built by the OpenIJ consortium of contractors during the next few years.
The project is a collaborative venture of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Province of North Holland, the Municipality of Amsterdam, the Port of Amsterdam, and the Municipality of Velsen. The project is co-financed by the European Union’s TEN-T programme.
When will the new sea lock be completed?
The completion of the new sea lock for shipping is scheduled for the early 2022. The first ships may probably start to pass through the new sea lock during the operational test phase.
- 2020-2021: Start testing of the new sea lock
- Begin 2022: The new sea lock will be put into operational service
Drone recordings of the construction activities during the second quarter of 2021
Every quarter, new drone images show the progress of the construction from the air. This can be seen in the drone recording of the second quarter of 2021:
- New Buitentoeleidingskanaal (outer approach channel)
- The transport and installation of the fendering system for shipping
- Lock platforms on the north and south sides are being asphalted
- Solar panels that will make the Lock Operation Centre (SOC) a net zero-energy building
- Floating fenders are in place
- Public road across the locks is open for cyclists and pedestrians
- Look-out point as part of the site layout
- Quay at Zuidersluiseiland – a car landing place will also be realised here
Reports on the construction of the New Sea Lock often use a number of technical terms. But what exactly is a sheet pile wall and what is a combi wall? What is meant by the diaphragm method and the caisson method? What do these things look like? We have listed the most used terms in a glossary with explanations and visual material.
Time-lapse of the construction - Q1 2021
This is a time-lapse of the activities from January to March 2021. The activities shown in the picture include:
- The dredging of the outer approach channel to Zeesluis IJmuiden
- The removal of the lock sill cofferdam of the outer lock head
- The removal of temporary cables and pipelines
- The construction of the embankment body for the Flood Defence South
- Preparation of the site around Zeesluis IJmuiden
- The asphalting of the Middensluisweg
- The submerging of the gate chamber and lock sill of the outer lock head
- Installation of the lock gate in the outer lock head and of the spare lock gate in the dry dock
For neighbouring residents
The Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management regularly holds consultations with residents, together with OpenIJ about the new sea lock. Regularly a newsletter is being issued to which you can subscribe.
Do you have questions or complaints on the construction work? Please contact the Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) via 0800 - 8002. For more information, see the website of Rijkswaterstaat.
For businesses in the port
Port of Amsterdam regularly consults with the ORAM Amsterdam Region Business Association, agents, port service providers and customers on the effects of the construction on shipping. Also subscribe to our newsletter for information about the construction of the sea lock
Are you interested in the commercial opportunities for your business after the new sea lock has been taken into use? Or do you have questions about the new possibilities in logistics and cargo flows after 2022? Please contact us.