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Big Ships, Deep Channels and Transfer Terminals

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Author(s): Dr Asaf Ashar, Research-Professor, Washington DC, USA

The Port of Valencia has recently announced plans for a large, new US$1.4 billion terminal, with a 2-km berthing dock and 140-ha terminal area. Beside its sheer size, the most striking feature of this terminal is its depth: 20 metres (m), that’s the same as new Rotterdam’s Masslavkte II terminals. Evidently, a depth of 20m is becoming the new norm for major hub ports gearing themselves to handle the big ships of the future. The two European ports are able to provide such deep channels due to their open-sea locations. Most ports worldwide are river ports with depth-constrained channels. These include the ‘rising star’ of US ports, the Port of Savannah, its case is used in this paper to re-introduce a not-so-new concept to cope with channel depth — Transfer Terminals (TT).

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