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How Nature Can Protect Port Infrastructure

Bechtel’s Senior Ports Specialist Marco Pluijm has announced that analysing natural barrier islands could help to make coastal infrastructure to be more sustainable and resilient.

The new approach marks a huge step-change in the way marine infrastructure is currently designed; as conventional designs are commonly based around studying trends and processes that are hard to predict.

Presenting at the World Ocean Council’s Sustainable Ocean Summit in Singapore, Mr Pluijm said the new approach would help engineers to develop innovative solutions that mitigate the devastating impact of sea-level rise from extreme weather events like hurricanes Sandy and Katrina.  

“Natural barrier islands have evolved over thousands of years, adapting their structure to cope with the impact of the sea and natural disasters such as storms and hurricanes,” said Pluijm.

“Looking at nature, we can learn, for instance, which dimensions work best for breakwaters. We can also learn from natural processes, such as the movement of sediment, how to reduce impacts, so that marine infrastructure can be up and running much sooner after an event.”

To read a Technical Paper by Marco Pluijm on the benefits of offshore ports, click here

This new approach could particularly benefit New York (in line with its ongoing Post-Sandy resiliency program), California (in combination with enhanced coastline management and water shortage management), and parts of Africa, to help solve the swell issues and operational limitations in existing ports in that region, according to Bechtel.

Fact File: Bechtel

Bechtel is among the most respected engineering, project management, and construction companies in the world. Bechtel operates through four global business units that specialise in infrastructure; mining and metals; nuclear, security and environmental; and oil, gas, and chemicals. Since its founding in 1898, Bechtel has worked on more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents. Today, our 58,000 colleagues team with customers, partners, and suppliers on diverse projects in nearly 40 countries.

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