News and information for the worldwide dredging industry

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Sand and Gravel Dredging Keeps Pace with Sophisticated Systems

Sand and gravel operations continue to become more automated, and environmentally friendly. Because sand and gravel profitability is dependent on production, it is worthwhile, and even necessary, for producers to update their equipment and to use the latest technology in their large or small operations.

There is only one seagoing aggregate operation in the United States, that of Amboy Aggregates, a subsidiary of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, in New Jersey. Overseas, especially in Europe, dredging aggregates from the ocean bottom is the norm, and the new dredges that have come on line are environmentally friendly as well as productive. DEME Building Material’s new dredge Victor Horta (page 10 of this issue) can dredge to nearly 200 feet deep, allowing it to operate far enough off the continental shelf to minimize the effect on the shoreline.

Bubba Savage told me about a dredge in Germany, built by Bagema. He said “the entire operation requires only three people, none of them on the dredge.” Read about how this dredge knows when it is time to move, and then repositions itself automatically, while the operator watches from where he is also operating the scale. This article is on page 9, and the dredge is pictured on this month’s cover.

IDR’s slogan from the beginning has been “Your Window to the Dredging World,” and the cover photo, in the middle of a white expanse, is meant to be similar to looking at something interesting through a window, with “cover lines” describing what is inside.

With this issue, we have changed the cover design somewhat.

The great new cover layout, created by Kim Waterhouse and Marie Rausch of our production department, is eye-catching, accomplishes the goal of previewing what’s inside, allows for two photos, each worth a thousand words, and is an all-around good change. I hope you agree.

In our last issue we included a small item about the dredging of the Lagan River in Belfast. Always looking for photos, I asked my friend Ron Young, of Aberfeldy, Scotland to see if his son Neil would be willing to walk over and take a picture of the dredge. Neil, who is attending Queen’s University in Belfast, complied, and sent me three views, one of which is on the Contracts page of this issue.

There is more to this story, however. When I first started IDR in 1981, friends helped me quite a bit, both with the magazine and my survival. Neil’s parents were among these friends, and during a period when I didn’t have a car, many times his mother Lori piled him and his sister into their car and drove me to the printer, to get my first computer (an Atari 600, a dot matrix printer and a high-tech dual-floppy disk drive, all of which had to be communicated with via arcane passwords to get them to work), and other errands that couldn’t be done by bicycle in Long Beach, California. Because Neil was a baby at the time, he might not remember those trips, but he indeed was an integral part of IDR in its beginning years, so it is fitting that he should be involved again, nearly three decades later.

Finally, Barry Holliday announced that Congressman Boustany (R-LA) and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) and 25 co-sponsors submitted a RAMP act to the House floor on the first day of this session. We will keep a close eye on this necessary legislation to ensure waterway funding.

Judith Powers

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