The Netherlands: CEDA Dredging Days 2011 Attracts Record Number of Participants
CEDA Dredging Days 2011, the most recent edition of CEDA’s prestigious series of conferences has proved once again that it is the place to be for all professionals who want to stay abreast of dredging’s latest developments. In an excellent, inspiring atmosphere some 280 experts from over 20 countries from all over the world spent two days discussing and debating dredging with their peers.
Under the theme Dredging and Beyond, the conference and exhibition focused on areas where a new trend is emerging, namely when dredging becomes part of increasingly broader more integrated projects:
• dredging for offshore oil and gas winning and deepsea mining,
• building with nature for soft and hard dredging solutions.
The conference started by two inspiring keynote presentations in which prominent experts shared their insights about the requirements of and opportunities in their respective fields in the context of dredging. First Prof. Peter Halbach from Berlin’s Free University talked about mining of deepsea minerals. Then Hans de Boer, managing director of the Association of Dutch Suppliers in the Oil and Gas Industry, took the floor to talk about developments in the Dutch offshore industry. Although both of these industries have used the dredging sector’s services for many years, their requirements are changing fast as their operations move to deeper and deeper waters. The conference presentations in two dedicated sessions featuring exciting new technologies left no doubt that the dredging field is matching the speed when responding to these demands.
The concept of working/building with nature itself is not new and has been used in the past for creating wetlands, beach nourishments, coastal restorations and so on. Recently however, more effort is being put into applying it in an increasing number of countries in order to achieve win-win solution for both the economy and the environment. CEDA Dredging Days 2011 explained the concept and in three technical sessions presented related research and innovative case studies.
The conference programme also included the now traditional and much valued Academic Session featuring cutting-edge science by PhD students and faculty. The talks covered a broad range of topics as speakers of this session did not have to adhere to the conference theme.
CEDA’s much anticipated position paper “Underwater Sound in Relation to Dredging” was issued during the conference. The paper, which was prepared by the CEDA Working Group on Underwater Sound under the remit of the CEDA Environment Commission was presented by the WG chair, Frank Thomsen, DHI, Denmark (formerly with Cefas, UK). With this paper, as one of the participants said, CEDA is setting the example with their proactive and scientifically sound approach. A taste of the CEDA position paper now in preparation about climate change adaptation as it affects the dredging community was given by Pol Hakstege, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, Centre for Infrastructure, Department Hydraulic Engineering and Environment) who is chairing the Working Group Chair preparing this document.
The IADC Young Authors Award was given to Bas Borsje, Deltares/ University of Twente Ecoshape, the Netherlands and colleagues for the paper entitled “Biogeomorphological Interactions on a Nourished Tidal Flat: Lessons Learned on Building with Nature.”
The conference was complemented by a specialised dredging exhibition with 17 stands where leading CEDA member companies showcased their most recent equipment and services, especially in the oil, gas and mineral-winning areas and when working with nature. The following companies participated in the exhibition: Aqua Vision; Damen Dredging Equipment; DEME; Denialink; IHC Merwede; Marinestar; Nortek; Prolec; QPS; RKT International; Rotonics Manufacturing; Seatools; Van Oord Offshore; VOSTA LMG.
The exhibition was located adjacent to the technical session room, and was also the venue for the extremely popular CEDA-Netherlands Reception. To this reception all CEDA members were invited. An additional 50 dredging enthusiasts took the opportunity to visit the exhibition and catch up with colleagues and friends.
An optional technical visit to IHC Merwede’s Kinderdijk shipyard took place before the conference. Many delegates took advantage of this rare opportunity. The Deep Sea Dredging & Mining Unit and the OceanflORE joint venture were excellent hosts showing participants around the yard. They did not hesitate to arrange taxis to accommodate those delegates who decided in the very last minutes to join the tour which was much appreciated.
CEDA remained true to its objective “to provide a meeting place to share knowledge, information and experience, to network and socialize”. The packed meeting room even during the last session on Friday afternoon, the buzz in the exhibition area during the lunch and coffee pauses and during the CEDA Netherlands reception and farewell drinks are all testament to that.
The Central Dredging Association (CEDA) is an international professional membership organisation for all those involved in dredging related activities and who live or work in Europe, Africa, or the Middle East. CEDA provides an independent forum for the exchange of knowledge in fields related to dredging, maritime construction and dredged material management. Members are drawn from many fields and include consultants, research and educational institutes, port authorities, government agencies, dredging contractors, builders of dredging vessels, and suppliers of ancillary equipment. CEDA encompasses a wide range of disciplines and activities and does not represent the interests of any particular industry sector.
Dredging Today Staff, December 5, 2011; Image: dredging