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Deepening of River Scheldt can begin

21 December 2007 – Flemish Prime Minister Kris Peeters gave the go-ahead  to begin deepening the Scheldt River. The operation began at the North Sea Terminal in the north of the Port of Antwerp.

It is necessary to make the River Scheldt deeper because increasingly bigger ships need to be able to sail into the Port of Antwerp. At the moment, some of the bigger ships are dependent on high tide to be able to enter the port.

Two years ago the Flemish government signed the so-called ‘Scheldt Treaties’ with authorities in the Netherlands. The accord was approved by the Netherlands only this week.

Because substantial preparatory work had been done over the last couple of years, dredging could start on Thursday. The River Scheldt needs to be 15.5 metres, which is two metres deeper than it is now.

The entire operation is expected to be completed by the end of 2009 and cost some €100 million.