By Marsha Cohen
Following an intensive tendering procedure the Flemish-Netherlands Scheldt Committee has awarded the contract for the construction of a New Lock at Terneuzen the Netherlands to the Sassevaart consortium. The lock is being constructed within the existing lock complex in Terneuzen. The members of the Sassevaart consortium are: BAM Infra B.V. DEME Infra Marine Contractors B.V. Dredging International N.V. BAM Contractors N.V. and Algemene Aannemingen Van Laere N.V.
Amongst the lock construction and dredging activities are alterations to inner and outer harbors construction of road connections lock platform and maintenance buildings construction of lock heads and chamber and of gates and bridges dikes and flood protection and supporting installations. The new large lock will be built within the current lock complex between the Western and Eastern locks. The existing Middle Lock will be removed. The Eastern and Western locks were built in the 1960s. The present Middle Lock built in 1910 is 140 meters long x 18 meters wide (459 feet long x 59 feet wide) for ships with a maximum draft of 7 meters (23 feet). The new lock will be as long and wide as the renovated locks in the Panama Canal that is 427 meters long x 55 meters wide x 16.44 meters deep (1400 feet x 180 feet x 54 feet).
The Port of Terneuzen is located in the most southwestern part of the Netherlands in the province of Zeeland and in the vicinity of the Belgian city of Ghent. It is the third largest port in the Netherlands after Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The lock complex at Terneuzen located in the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal is one of the busiest navigated canals in Europe and forms a crucial link in the Seine-Scheldt connection linking the southern part of the Netherlands Belgium and France. Specifically the Terneuzen lock complex connects the Westerscheldt with the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal and allows access to the ports of Ghent and Terneuzen both of which are of great economic importance to the region for sea and inland shipping.
The New Lock will reduce the bottleneck at the port and provide better access and a smoother flow of traffic from the Westernscheldt estuary to the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal and beyond. The Terneuzen locks form the main bottleneck in the Rotterdam-Paris inland waterway route and the new lock will alleviate this congestion.
The closely regulated tender process for these operations commenced at the end of May 2016. In view of the scope and complexity of the work the Flemish-Netherlands Scheldt Committee decided to go for a “Design & Construct Contract with a Competitive Dialogue.” Design & Construct contracts are a procedure where in the light of the requirements that have been established the contractor (rather than the client or consultant) prepares a detailed design and carries out the work.
Competitive dialogue as defined by a European Union directive is “a procedure in which any economic operator may request to participate and whereby the Contracting Authority conducts a dialogue with the candidates admitted to that procedure with the aim of developing one or more suitable alternatives capable of meeting its requirements and on the basis of which the candidates chosen are invited to tender.”
To start the process a descriptive document was written. This formed the basis of the competitive dialogue that comprised a number of dialogue rounds during which all aspects of the contract were discussed with all parties aiming to arrive at the best resources and solutions.
At the beginning of May 2017 three final tenders were received and evaluated over the following weeks. Following European Union regulations the tenders received were first evaluated for quality criteria established by a committee of experts. The prices offered were only examined after the results of this quality evaluation had been established. After approval of the results by the Flemish Government and the positive opinion of Ministers Weyts and Schultz Van Haegen on behalf of the Flanders-Netherlands Scheldt Committee the award to the Sassevaart consortium was announced.
The decision was reached that the Sassevaart consortium had the “Most Economically Advantageous Tender” that is that they were the best tenderer based on both price and quality. The Sassevaart consortium submitted a tender for the design and construction of the New Lock for an amount of 753346000 euros (including VAT) ($884183273). At the beginning of July all parties involved were notified of the intention to award the contract to the Sassevaart consortium. From July to August 25 a consultation period followed during which the two other tenderers could submit any objections to this decision. No objections were submitted during the consultation period and the final award was made in late August.
The construction of the lock including the preparatory costs and support and also the infrastructural management and maintenance for the first two years is expected to cost 934 million euros (including VAT) ($1.09 million). In accordance with the agreement between the governments of the Netherlands and Flanders the northern part of Belgium the Netherlands will pay for the construction of the New Lock at Terneuzen over 190 million euros ($223 million) including a regional contribution. In accordance with the agreement Flanders is bearing the other costs. The Port of Ghent is contributing to the Flemish share of the costs. A contribution of over 48 million euros ($56.35 million) is being made from the European Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funds. CEF is a key European Union funding instrument to promote growth jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at the European level.
The work will start at the end of 2017 and the first ship is scheduled to sail through the New Lock in 2022.