History - Liefkenshoek Tunnel

NV Tunnel Liefkenshoek was established in May 1987 under a Concession Agreement with the then Federal State for the design, construction, the management and operation of a third Scheldt bank connection in Antwerp.

In that period, given the high level of traffic in and around Antwerp, a third tunnel, after the Waasland Tunnel and the Kennedy Tunnel, was an indispensable link in the Antwerp infrastructure. However, the credit restrictions at the time did not allow for this tunnel to be built with public funds. Following examples from other countries, the government opted for a formula of private financing in the legal form of a concession.

The agreement for this project, part of the R2 around Antwerp, was signed on October 3, 1985 between the Belgian Federal Government and the Temporary Association 'De Meyer nv, Van Laere nv and Betonac nv'. The aforementioned shareholders became managers of the Liefkenshoek Tunnel after the construction phase.

The construction of the tunnel and appurtenances started on July 10, 1987. During the construction period, the Temporary Association acted as a concessionaire and was responsible for the construction of the tunnel. Construction activities had ended within the foreseen four-year period, so that toll operation could start on 10 July 1991. From that moment on, NV Tunnel Liefkenshoek became concessionaire and operator. 

Due to facts and administrative decisions that jeopardized the profitability of the concession and also because it appeared quite soon after the start of the operation that the actual number of users of the tunnel was significantly lower than the forecasts, various law suits were conducted with the Concession Provider.

Finally, on May 16, 1995, a settlement agreement was signed between the private shareholders, the banks and the Flemish Region to end all disputes arising and to establish a debt rescheduling. For this purpose, the Flemish Region acquired all shares of the operating company. Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen nv acted as agent. 

The Flemish Government gave its guarantee to this new financial structure and the payment plan. 

After the settlement, the operator drew up a 'Strategic Plan 1996' for the company, which included a number of options for quickly moving from a loss-making to a profitable company. This plan focused on infrastructure measures, policy aspects and also included some financial proposals, including a Lease-in / Lease-out operation, based on certain rights granted to the concessionaire. 

In order to make this cross-border financing possible, the Flemish Government decided in 1996 that the concession extension necessary for this transaction would be granted, extending the existing concession decree until 2037. 

In the context of the realization of the Antwerp Master Plan, the Flemish Region established BAM nv (Management Company Antwerp Mobile) on 8 August 2003; an nv under public law. 

On 13 December 2002, the "Decree establishing the company BAM nv" was adopted by the Flemish Parliament. 

The BAM decree provides in Article 7 that "the assets of the Flemish Region relating to the Scheldt bank connections are contributed by the Flemish Government in BAM in exchange for shares". 

In accordance with this decision, NV Tunnel Liefkenshoek has been a 100% independent subsidiary of BAM nv since 29/07/2004.