(cruise) ships


million ton trans-shipment capacity


sea lock 

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The challenge

After almost a hundred years of service, the Noordersluis lock in IJmuiden is in need of replacement: Not only because the materials from which it is constructed are now obsolete, but also because the current lock limits the access to the Port of Amsterdam. A larger passage was needed, so plans were drawn up for the world's largest sea lock.


The solution

Contractor consortium OpenIJ is building the new sea lock at the entrance to the North Sea Canal on behalf of the Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management. The consortium—which is comprised of BAM-PGGM, VolkerWessels and DIF, is responsible for designing, building, financing and maintaining the new sea lock. Arcadis is involved in the lock design and is providing nautical and hydrological advice. We also compiled computational fluid dynamics (CFD) calculations to calculate the currents for the lock gates.



    Safe passage in and out of the neighboring Noordersluis lock also had to be investigated for the construction phase of the new sea lock and for its future operation. This study was completed with the help of shipping simulation software SHIP-Navigator, which Arcadis and the other parties involved used to analyze potential nautical risks. Real-time maneuvering simulations were then carried out, with pilot services present to explain the strategy and towing assistance. The simulation produced a clear picture of the maneuvering procedures, bottlenecks, nautical risks and possible measures. Together, these measures will guarantee that ship traffic can move safely and smoothly during construction and when the new lock is completed. 

    The new sea lock is part of the Directorate-General of Public Works and Water Management's lock program, which brings together a number of lock projects to promote the exchange of knowledge and experience. Arcadis is also involved in the design of the new lock in Terneuzen.  

The impact

The new sea lock will be 70 meters wide, 500 meters long and 18 meters deep, making it the largest in the world. In addition, the lock is tide-independent and can therefore be used at any time of day. At the beginning of 2022, the lock will open to ships after a six-year construction process. Thanks to this generously sized point of passage, the Port of Amsterdam will be much more accessible and its trans-shipment capacity will grow from 90 million to 125 million tons per year, an important boost for the economy in the region and throughout the country.


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