Port expansion through land reclamation

Authorship

René Kolman, secretary general, International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC) and Jan van ’t Hoff, independent consulting engineer, the Netherlands

Publication

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When you sail into Rotterdam’s Europort and see the new Maasvlakte 2, enter the Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone Project (KPIZ) in Abu Dhabi or visit Hong Kong’s container terminals, it’s hard to imagine that these areas were once simply wide expanses of water. These port expansion projects are just a few of the many infrastructure developments that owe their existence to the wonders of dredging and land reclamation.

Land reclamation is land that seemingly appears out of nowhere. And how do dredging contractors create something from nothing? These mega-infrastructures are in fact the domain of engineers specialised in the planning, design and construction of land reclamation using hydraulic fill. And such constructions are only possible because of the dredging industry’s innovative and intensive work, both theoretical and practical, into the characteristics of hydraulic fill. Without suitable hydraulic fill, land reclamation for port expansions would not be possible. Yet, despite its economic importance, a thorough study of hydraulic fill has long been overlooked in the literature of dredging – until now. Only recently, after several years of rigorous research and writing, with contributions from a score of highly respected engineers, is hydraulic fill getting the attention it deserves.

The recently published book, Hydraulic Fill Manual for Dredging and Land Reclamation Works (2012) was guided into existence under the stewardship of the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) and CUR Building & Infrastructure. Its two editor-experts in the field, Jan van 't Hoff and Art Nooy van der Kolff clearly and comprehensively tackle the complexities of hydraulic fill operations. What is hydraulic fill? Hydraulic fill is the process where sediment or rock excavated by dredgers from the seabed or other borrow areas, is transported and ultimately placed into the designated reclamation area. For each of these phases of excavation, transport and placement, a hydraulic filling method is used, meaning that a soil and water mixture is created to facilitate dredging, transport or placement of the fill material. The fill material is then placed as a mixture of the fill (sand) and water into the reclamation site…

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