Liverpool2, Peel Ports Group’s flagship £300m deepwater container terminal, took an important step closer to realisation this month when the Dutch marine engineering specialists Van Oord commenced their dredging of the River Mersey estuary.
The family-owned Dutch firm was awarded the dredging contract in March 2014 and the arrival of Van Oord’s HAM 316 Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) into Mersey waters marked the effective start of the operation.
The work entails deepening the navigable depth of the maintained approach channel (which extends to an overall area of 27km²) from 6.9m bCD to 8.0m bCD producing an estimated volume of 5 million cubic meters of dredged material, known as ‘arisings’. The dredged arisings will be put to beneficial use in the up-filling of the intertidal zone within the Seaforth triangle which forms the new Liverpool2 deep water container terminal. The balance of dredged materials will then be returned to nature and deposited at the offshore licensed disposal sites.
An Environmental Impact Assessment has been undertaken and the Marine Management Organisation, in collaboration with stakeholders, has granted the appropriate licenses. The dredging contractor will adopt best practice and employ mitigation strategies to minimise or remove any impact on the ecosystems and biodiversity of the marine habitat.
Commenting on the contract, Maurits den Broeder, Managing Director Van Oord UK said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by Peel Ports Group. This is the second prestigious award for Van Oord in Liverpool and further consolidates our relationship with the Port. We look forward to continuing this into Peel Ports Group’s future developments in the area.”
Liverpool2 Project Director Doug Coleman said: “It’s great to have the Van Oord team and their specialist vessel and equipment working in the Mersey estuary and making a start on the dredging. Once completed in late 2015, Liverpool2 will be able to accommodate most of the world’s current fleet of container vessel types and will offer shipping lines a unique opportunity to connect directly to the heart of the UK. Van Oord’s credentials speak for themselves and we are really pleased to be working with them.”
The Mersey Estuary dredging campaign is supported by a grant from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund of £35 million. The award of the dredging grant was announced in May 2013 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne and is not solely for Liverpool2 but, rather, will deepen and widen the approach channel for the benefit of all river users.
Van Oord’s impressive recent track record in delivering complex marine engineering contracts includes the landmark projects of Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong and the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai as well as the Port of Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte2 extension. Van Oord recently signed the contract for the Gemini project which is the largest Dutch offshore wind farm valued at €1.3billion.
The family-owned business operates a global fleet of more than 100 dredgers and specialised marine plant and has an annual turnover of €1.7 billion, employing 4,200 staff located in 30 international offices.
Press Release, July 14, 2014