Bechtel unveils port concept to relieve Africa’s congested ports

  • Multi-User Offshore Hub could reduce conventional port construction costs by 40 percent, whilst increasing capacity, says Bechtel senior ports specialist

Bechtel has unveiled a new design for ports which it claims could revolutionise shipping in Africa by increasing capacity whilst saving up to 40 percent on conventional port construction costs.

The global engineering firm’s Multi-User Offshore Hub is designed for two or more users and consists of an offshore, smart terminal arrangement and docking system that can accommodate oceangoing vessels and barges.

In a statement, Bechtel said that the concept has the potential to open new market opportunities for African ports by significantly increasing capacity and substantially reducing port construction and operation costs.

“As existing African ports become more and more congested, increased capacity is an urgent need for both the import of consumer goods and the export of minerals,” explained Marco Pluijm, Bechtel’s senior ports specialist, at an unveiling of the new design at the African Ports Evolution 2013 Forum in Cape Town on Tuesday.

“Each requires out-of-the-box solutions to handle as many containers as efficiently as possible and to speed the provision of new mineral export facilities to enable the region to develop its economy.”

“This solution could provide a reduction of up to 40 percent in port infrastructure construction costs compared with building a traditional port and up to 50 percent in operational cost savings as the hub can handle much larger Capesize and Valemax vessels, which result in economies of scale,” added Pluijm.

Bechtel is currently identifying suitable sites for a Multi-User Offshore Hub in countries in both East and West Africa.

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