Landmark Blankenburg connection PPP project reaches Financial Close and commences construction

On 17th October 2018, the BAAK consortium – Macquarie Capital (70 per cent of SPC), Ballast Nedam (15 per cent of SPC) and DEME (15 per cent of SPC) - reached financial close on the €1 billion Blankenburg Connection PPP project in the Netherlands. The Blankenburg Connection is a design, build, finance and maintain (DBFM) project which will improve road links between Rotterdam and its port – and is the largest PPP project awarded in the Netherlands to date.

Macquarie Capital also acted as the sole financial advisor and debt arranger to the consortium. The total senior funding requirement for the Project of c. €900 million brings together commercial floating rate lenders (KBC, The Korea Development Bank, Belfius, KfW, BNG and SMBC) and fixed rate institutional lenders (Natixis, MEAG and Samsung Life Insurance). The European Investment Bank provided 50 per cent of the term loan, totalling c. €330 million, backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The EPCM consortium consists of an integrated JV between Ballast Nedam Infra and the DEME Group companies DIMCO BV and Dredging International. DIMCO and Ballast Nedam contribute their extensive capabilities to execute all civil infrastructure works, tunnel installations and project management activities. More specifically, Dredging International will perform the trench dredging and nautical works, and DIMCO will perform the immersion works of the tunnel elements on the busy fairway to the Port of Rotterdam.

Sander Lefevre, Board member Ballast Nedam: “We are delighted that we have reached this important milestone for this unique project. The Blankenburg connection is a good example of the solid projects that represent our order book. We are proud to be part of the outstanding project organisation. This strong team combines the expertise and manpower of several disciplines. I’m confident that this team will ensure Rijkswaterstaat of a high-quality and efficient project, with a punctual completion.”

About the project

The project involves the Design, Build, Finance and Maintenance (DBFM) of a new highway connection of approximately 4 km (linking the A15 and the A20 roads, to the west of Rotterdam) including a land tunnel of c. 500m (Holland Tunnel), an immersed tunnel of c. 900m (Maasdelta Tunnel), two major flyovers and the widening of the existing A20. Following a construction period of 5.5 years, the consortium will then maintain the new road connection for 20 years.

Currently, preparatory works have started on site to create access on land and water.

In the design and construction of the Blankenburg connection, the interests of key stakeholders including the government, businesses and local residents are at the forefront. With smart technical solutions, the consortium limits the impact for the environment and businesses. For example, the consortium will realize the immersed tunnel with only two elements instead of the intended six elements in the reference design. Therefore the waterway - the connection to Main Port Rotterdam - needs to be closed off less often. Furthermore, building materials are supplied via water and where possible techniques providing less noise are used.