Royal HaskoningDHV Role in Boubyan Island Project

Previously uninhabited, Boubyan Island is the largest of the Kuwaiti coastal islands and is now the scene of a complete development project.

The overall master plan for the island’s evolution includes residential and industrial developments, a bridge link to the mainland, a seaport and a nature reserve.

The port, known as the Mubarak Al Kabeer Seaport, is situated on the east coast of the island and is part of a $125 billion overall investment. The contract to construct a quay wall, a small boat harbor and land reclamation was awarded to Hyundai with Royal HaskoningDHV’s specialist engineers carrying out the detailed design for phases one and two, and the hydrodynamic modelling for all phases of the project.

The remote location proved quite a challenge for Hyundai, who needed to establish infrastructure for 1,500 staff. Twenty kilometers of access roads, offices, accommodation, stores, internet and phone services were installed before work could begin on the island.

The project is complex, not only because the island was uninhabited but also because it is made up almost entirely of soft muddy flats called Sabkha. This meant that construction of the port on very soft ground, to very challenging settlement criteria required a highly innovative solution.

By combining existing engineering solutions and working closely with its client, Royal HaskoningDHV delivered a unique design. The design included a tied combi-wall with a deep soil mixing technique to improve the weak silty clay. The well-understood band drain and surcharge method was adopted for the reclamation to drive some 2m of settlement out during construction.

In addition to the port design, Royal HaskoningDHV also delivered a variety of services that drew on its environmental expertise, port design, maritime and geotechnical knowledge. Phase one was completed in 2014 with further components for the container terminal design, infrastructure and design of approach channel and berth pocket, yet to be completed.