zoom The Dutch Highways and Waterways Agency (Rijkswaterstaat) plans to award the construction of the new IJmuiden sea lock, located at the mouth of the North Sea Canal to Amsterdam, to the Consortium OpenIJ, which has been named the project’s preferred bidder. After contract close, the consortium, comprised of European construction group Royal BAM Group, Dutch construction group Volker Wessels and DIF, independent Dutch investor in infrastructure projects which manages EUR 2 billion of funds, will be responsible for design, construction, financing and maintenance of the new lock for a period of 26 years. The dredging activities would be carried out by subcontractors Boskalis and Van Oord.BAM is currently constructing two new sea locks in Antwerp (in joint venture) and Brunsbüttel.A new, larger lock system is aimed at improving the accessibility of the port of Amsterdam and stimulate the local economy by accommodating bigger ships. The new lock will be 70 meters wide, 500 meters long and 18 meters deep. Construction is set to start early 2016 and the new lock is expected to be available for shipping at the end of 2019.Rijkswaterstaat, the Province of North Holland, the City of Amsterdam and Port of Amsterdam NV work together in the realization of this new large sea lock at IJmuiden. The Municipality of Velsen is involved as legal adviser with regard to planning procedures.The new IJmond sea entrance is part of Rijkswaterstaat’s Locks Program, which includes six projects: lock Limmel, 2nd lock Eefde, 3rd Beatrix Lock, IJmond sea entrance, sea lock Terneuzen and the Afsluitdijk.
OTTAWA — Ottawa believes Canadians might need a little help in how they spend and save.The federal government has released a “Financial Toolkit” that it says can help Canadians make sense of everyday financial questions they face.The toolkit, which is available online and in printed form, includes worksheets, quizzes, questionnaires, case studies and educational videos to educate Canadians on making rational, responsible money decisions.[np-related /]The toolkit was created in partnership with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, the Investor Education Fund and l’Autorite des marches financiers.The initiative is part the government’s efforts to promote financial literacy and follows months of warnings from the Bank of Canada as well as the finance minister about the record high levels of consumer debt.On a national basis, the average household debt stands at 152% of disposable income, just shy of the 160% level that was reached in the U.S. and the United Kingdom prior to the housing market collapse in 2008.Economists have said that the high levels of consumer debt are a consequence of low interest rates that have been in place since 2008 as part of efforts to stimulate the economy by making it less expensive to borrow and spend.Junior finance minister Ted Menzies says the toolkit is another way Canadians can acquire life skills.