Frank Verhoeven, President of IADC, shares his thoughts on todays’ issues related to the dredging industry and introduces the articles in this issue of Terra et Aqua.

The demand for dredging today is a crucial part of all significant maritime infrastructure projects. Within the dredging industry, sustainability is key. Large-scale projects, such as land reclamation, canal and port development, and offshore wind farms are conducted in a way that respect the environment and minimise their environmental impact.

How companies conduct activities in regard to sustainability is also a factor pertinent to young professionals in the industry looking for an employer whose professional ethics align with their own. With global warming being the greatest challenge we face today, a company’s commitment to sustainability has never been more crucial.

Our member companies are already doing a great deal in contributing to the energy transition.

Our member companies are already doing a great deal in contributing to the energy transition. For example, reducing their own emissions by a number of means including investments in dual-fuel vessels ready for future alternative fuels, using biofuels and retrofitting current equipment using battery packs e.g. for Dynamic Positioning 2 systems. Everything from investing in electrification of onshore equipment, contributing to research and pilot schemes in the field of alternative fuels, down to fitting solar panels at their own offices, distribution centres and shore power installations.

The industry has an incredible amount of qualities in the area of sustainability, yet it is a fact of which many stakeholders are still unaware.

While inflation and the war in Ukraine continue to effect the economy, the market is starting to recover. This market improvement can be seen in the upcoming Dredging in Figures report produced by IADC, which will be published in September. The Dredging Market Scope and Overview Report 2023 by Absolute Reports stated, “It is expected that the market for the dredging industry will experience a notable expansion in the foreseeable future. This growth can be attributed to various factors, such as a rise in individual spending, increased urbanisation around the world and greater adoption of innovative technologies.”

Substantial investments are being made by the sector to make its own equipment more sustainable. Many dredging companies are increasing their varied fleets to navigate the changing demands of the market. Technological innovation and advancement is therefore paramount in our highly specialised industry.

With regard to such technology and sustainability, the article on page 32 discusses waste heat recovery systems as a way to reduce the fuel consumption of dredging vessels. Also in this issue, we look at the effectiveness of agitation dredging in a case study of the Stour/Orwell estuary system in the UK, along with an article showing how logistical simulations can help provide alternative operating strategies for energy efficiency.

Frank Verhoeven
President, IADC

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