Terra et Aqua: In Dredging, Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness Are Everybody’s Business

When it comes to dredging and maritime infrastructure projects, everyone in the major international dredging companies is examining and re-examining how they do business. And that includes scrutinising all aspects of the business, like contracts and procurement; environment and sustainability; appropriate equipment and cost-efficiency. For major infrastructure projects, innovative ideas and excellent execution are the backbone of the modern dredging industry. It is this attention to improvement and reinvention that makes the industry unique.

In this issue of Terra et Aqua, a close look at several projects and pilot studies explains how the role of dredging companies is changing: from subcontractor to contractor to partner and collaborator. All in an effort to help clients find better solutions for their infrastructure needs. For instance: The effects of the boom in port expansion and the larger, so-called Post-Panamax ships have led to dredging for new locks in the Panama Canal. Since drilling & blasting are necessary for the hard soil, and the operations are adjacent to the existing Canal, the Pedro Miguel Locks, the Centennial Bridge, and in the vicinity of a residential area, these operations require intensive monitoring and a strong commitment from the contractor to protect and preserve the environment.

In the Netherlands a public-private co-operation, with “Building with Nature” as its focus, has developed two pilot studies for coastal protection and replenishment. In both, the challenges of governance in modern coastal engineering are being considered. Such governance issues are twofold: first, the fragmentation of decision-making and funding, and secondly, the growing sense of uncertainty amongst stakeholders as projects are long-term investments with multiple, not always predictable, impacts. And in Louisiana, USA, the loss of wetlands is addressed in the IADC Award-winning paper which “evaluates alternatives to improve dredging efficiency and cost-effectiveness for inland marsh restoration projects”. Using an international team the client was presented with a dredging market analysis, a summary of available innovative technologies, bidding and contracting alternatives, an evaluation of state ownership of dredgers, and recommendations for a Regional Inland Marsh Restoration Plan.

All these projects, all over the world, have one thing in common: They require specialised input from the dredging companies. This has led the major dredging companies to seek unusual, pioneering contractual strategies like Early Contractor Involvement, in which good co-ordination and transparency amongst all partners as well as various departments – engineering, survey, civil construction, dredging and technical – bring the project team to new heights of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

With the global economy still in slow motion, traditional work methods are often not enough to meet the challenge. Finding an innovative dredging partner for major maritime infrastructure projects can help provide solutions.


Source: Terra at Aqua, September 20, 2011;