zoom The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide EUR 165 million (187.5m) to support the construction of a new sea lock at IJmuiden, the principal access to the Dutch Port of Amsterdam.The current Noordersluis lock was built in 1929 and the new larger lock will ensure that the next generation of bulk carriers, container ships and cruise ships can continue to access the Port of Amsterdam and the North Sea Canal, and is expected to reduce waiting time for ships.The new sea lock will be 500 meters long, 70 meters wide and 18 meters deep, and able to operate in all tides. The IJmuiden sea lock is expected to support economic activity both along the North Sea canal and for companies using the Port of Amsterdam, Europe’s fourth busiest port.Europe’s long-term investment institution will provide 33% of the debt financing for the project, alongside a consortium of banks including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, UniCredit Bank, DZ BANK and KfW IPEX-Bank, whereas Rabobank is providing an equity bridge facility.The lock is procured as a public private partnership of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment through Rijkswaterstaat, and is supported by the province of North Holland and the municipality of Amsterdam.“90% of Europe’s international trade passes through ports and upgrading the IJmuiden sea lock complex is crucial to ensuring the Port of Amsterdam’s leading role. Amsterdam has more distribution centres than any other region in Europe and the port supports companies dependent on logistics across the Netherlands and northern Europe,” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.
Strengthening Gaelic language and culture will be the focus of the first meeting between the ministers responsible for Gaelic in Nova Scotia and in Scotland. Angus MacIsaac, Minister responsible for Gaelic Initiatives, will meet with Peter Peacock, Scotland’s Minister for Gaelic, during an extensive trip to Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, from Monday, Sept. 25, to Tuesday, Oct. 10. Mr. MacIsaac expects to see and experience first hand the progress and challenges of other Gaelic speaking regions in terms of language and cultural development. “Our Gaelic language and culture are precious aspects of Nova Scotia’s diverse linguistic and cultural make up,” said Mr. MacIsaac. “By focusing on the successes and learning from the experiences of others with shared language and culture, we can continue on the path to linguistic renewal, and by extension, cultural renewal, in Nova Scotia. This trip in its many components will be critical in providing important reference points that will assist us in the work ahead.” Mr. MacIsaac’s meeting with Mr. Peacock will focus on expanding the already existing memorandum of understanding between Nova Scotia and Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd (The Highland Council of Scotland) to a government-to-government agreement that would include other Scottish jurisdictions. Mr. MacIsaac said Irish language and culture is a sister to Scottish Gaelic and there is much that Nova Scotians have in common in terms of shared heritage, tradition and rural community living. “In terms of development our challenges are strikingly similar: geography, transportation of goods and services, and declining rural communities are all realities with which Irish society has had to deal,” said Mr. MacIsaac. “It is upon our commonalities that we intend to build further opportunities for exchange, focusing on the future development of educational and economic possibilities that would be of benefit to both regions.” Mr. MacIsaac’s trip to Scotland will involve visits to Ceòlas (the Gaelic music school on the Island of South Uist), Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye), Comhairle nan Sgoiltean Àraid (CNSA) (The Gaelic Preschool Assocation), Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd (The Highland Council), and Bòrd na Gàidhlig (The Gaelic Language Board of Scotland), as these organizations have connections and resonance with the Nova Scotia Gaelic community. The minister plans to reinforce Nova Scotia’s well established contact with these groups and continue discussions as to how both regions can further develop and strengthen existing arrangements.