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Dredging Roundup / INTERNATIONAL Apr/May 2016

In December 2015, Van Oord announced new dredging contracts in Kazakhstan’s Caspian Sea region with a total value of more than US $500 million. The first project will be the dredging of a 68-kilometer-long (42.5 miles) access channel to a new cargo offloading facility to be operated by TenizService. Four cutter suction dredges are removing a total of some 17 million cubic meters (22.2 million cubic yards) of soil in shallow water. The project will en-able the expansion of the Prorva Port to help facilitate the growth of Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry. In the second project, Van Oord is performing the preparatory work for the installation of two pipelines in the same region. This project involves excavating and backfilling two eight-kilometer-long (five-mile) trenches. In addition, Van Oord is dredging an access chan-nel and will level the seabed. 

DEME is working for Autoridad Canal de Panama (ACP) on the further widening and deepening of the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The company already worked there between 2009 and 2012. The planned maintenance dredging by the trailing suction hopper dredge  Lange Wapper and the deepening dredging works by the cutter section dredge D’Artagnan are meant to facilitate increasing shipping traffic and the arrival of larger PostPanamax ships through the connecting canal. The existing entrance southbound of the Americas Bridge will be broadened over a distance of 7 kilometers (4.4 miles) by 37 meters (40.5 yards) on both sides, making the total width 300 meters (328 yards). 

Rohde Nielsen, a Danish dredging company, headquartered in Copenhagen, began work at the Port of Tauranga, New Zealand in October 2015. Work is scheduled to be completed in August 2016. Dredging the shipping channels at the Port of Tauranga is the final step in a NZ$350 million (US$235 million) capital 5-year expenditure program aimed at improving port facilities for New Zealand’s exporters and importers. Rohde Nielsen is deepening and widening Tauranga’s shipping channels from 12.9 meters to 14.5 meters (42 feet to 46.5 feet) inside the harbor and to 15.8 meters (52 feet) outside the harbor.

Enlarged ports will allow the port to realize the blue-water savings of larger ships. Larger ships, both containerized and bulk, have relatively higher fuel efficiency and are therefore more carbon efficient with lower operating costs per unit. The work is being done by two trailer suction hopper dredges, the Brage R and the larger Balder R and the backhoe Gungner R. When the dredging deadline is met in August, the infrastructure should be ready to handle 6,500 TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) ships in late 2016 and container volumes are expected to exceed one million TEUs in the 2016/2017 financial year. The Port of Tauranga is New Zealand’s freight gateway on the East Coast of the northern island facing the South Pacific. The dredging works put the port in a good position to expand the infrastructure necessary to support the next generation of mega container ships in New Zealand waters.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) signed a contract in November 2015 to dredge a new 9.5 kilometer (six mile) long side access channel which will be 250 meters (about 820 feet) wide and 18.5 meters (60 feet) deep. The work is estimated to cost US$60 million and will be completed this spring. Some 15 million cubic meters (19.5 million cubic yards) of material will be dredged. The new channel will enable round-the clock access to the eastern part of Port Said. At present vessels have to join the Suez Canal convoy to reach Port Said.

The side canal project is being carried out by the consortium of the Belgian Dredging International (DEME Group) and US-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company. The consortium previously realized Lot 6 for the expansion of the Suez Canal in 2015. Among other vessels, DEME’s trailing suction hopper dredges Congo River and Nile River with DP/DT (dynamic positioning/ dynamic tracking systems) will execute the dredging works to deepen the channel. A floating bridge, estimated to cost US$8.9 million (EGP70 million), will also be built at the East Port to carry loads of up to 70 tons. 

Port Said, at the northern end of the Suez Canal, is one of Egypt’s most important ports on the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to the new eastern side canal, ships sailing to and from Port Said will no longer interfere with maritime convoys of the nearby Suez Canal. Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT), located at East Port Said, has been calling for the dredging of eathis channel for several years and has pledged US$15 million towards the project, of which it has already contributed half. The development of this approach channel to East Port Said will enable the terminal, operated by Maersk-subsidiary APM Terminals (APMT), to double its capacity from some 2,500 vessel calls per year to 5,000.

Mersin International Port (MIP) – a joint venture between the Port of Singapore Au-thority and the Turkish infrastructure in-vestment holding Akfen – is an important port on the Mediterranean Sea in southern Turkey. DEME has been awarded a contract for facilitating access to the port and will execute the work with MIP. The port’s container terminal is currently being expanded. As a result, the port expects to receive more and bigger ships with deeper draught. The dredging operations, anticipating this increase in traffic, are being carried out by cutter section dredge Amazone and trailing suction hopper dredge Uilenspiegel. Work started in November 2015 and is scheduled to last more than seven months. The approach channel will be dredged to about 17 meters (18.6 yards), the turning circle to about 16 meters (17.5 yards), and the basin to almost 16 meters (17.5 yards). All dredged material will be placed 13 kilometers (about 8 miles) offshore from the dredging site.  

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