It is a new year and there have already been some significant changes across the globe that have had an impact on various sectors including the dredging industry. Fluctuations in the oil and gas industries have had a negative impact on the dredging market, but recently, oil prices have seen a slight increase. Political uncertainties in parts of the world, for an example in the Middle-East, have certainly been felt. If the global political climate were to see an improvement and oil prices see growth, it would be favourable to the dredging market.
Other factors such as world trade and climate change also have an impact on the industry. If world trade increases in the coming years, the dredging sector could experience a growth in the amount of work to be done in ports and harbours and terminal areas. Demand for reclamation projects could also grow.
This year, IADC is experiencing some changes, one of which is the change in presidency. I have taken over the role of president from my predecessor, Peter de Ridder. I have worked in the dredging industry my entire life. In fact, I was part of the Royal Boskalis Westminster group of companies for 40 years. From 2012 to 2016, I was a member of the Board of Management of Royal Boskalis.
As a person from a dredging background, I understand how important technical expertise and specialised knowledge is for the industry. No matter the project, there will always be uncertainties and as such, the dredging industry needs highly educated and technically skilled people to do the work in order to achieve optimal results.
This March issue of Terra et Aqua comprises three articles that highlights the enormous technical know-how that is available in our industry. The first article, “Integrated method for optimal channel dredging design” was written by Lucas Silveira along with six other co-authors. Silveira won the IADC Young Author Award 2016 at the IX PIANC-COPEDEC 2016 conference in Rio de Janeiro last year. The article discusses in detail an analytical method that was developed and applied to identify the optimal channel layout and dredging depth for safe navigation in the Mearim Port concept in Brazil.
The second article, “Environmental dredging of a chromium contaminated fjord” highlights an environmental dredging project in Valdemarsvik, Sweden. The sediments in the fjord in the Valdemarsvik area were contaminated with chromium from the discharge of tannery operations decades ago. The article goes into detail how the contractor remediated the contaminated sediments.
The final article, “Valuing variations in dredging contracts” explains about an essential element in dredging contracts – variations. The author analyses why variations have the potential to generate extra costs and pose significant delay to projects; how many contracts set out guidelines as to valuing variations; and what is the best way to go about reaching a fair valuation.
Peter de Ridder