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.

This special anniversary edition of Terra et Aqua marks 50 years of IADC’s technical and scientific journal. With an impressive 166 editions since its inception, it has evolved over the decades not only in its appearance but also in its content. One thing that has remained the same however, is its mission. To quote the journal’s first editor, Nic Oosterbaan, who wrote in the very first edition, “Terra is a journal devoted to the development of ports and waterways and the development of hydraulic engineering in general. Its aims are to disseminate information useful to the civil servant, politician or financial expert who is involved in local problems and bears responsibility for the decisions which have to be made.”

Since those words were written, the dredging industry has changed beyond measure. The projects undertaken today, not only in magnitude but also in ambition, are staggering. In turn, such projects have generated incredible innovations in the development of environmentally sound technologies as well as larger, more economically viable vessels. The importance of sustainable dredging practices is a core value held by our members and the industry’s attention to sustainability is at the forefront in making the world more climate-resilient. It has also opened the door to new markets, with some dredging companies investing heavily in special equipment for offshore wind projects; a market that is growing rapidly in the transition towards renewable energy – one of the largest global challenges presently facing society.

Terra’s mission is therefore still as relevant and compelling today as it was 50 years ago.

The industry continues to think big and is accomplishing feats that technically were impossible when Terra’s first edition was published. Terra’s mission is therefore still as relevant and compelling today as it was 50 years ago: To disseminate useful information and capture the imagination of those engaged in dredging and maritime construction.

To make clear to officials and the public the economic and technological advantages that the dredging contractor has to offer and the contribution of dredging to the ongoing social and economic prosperity of our world.

Five decades ago, the emphasis was on protecting the land against erosion and flooding. Something Kees d’Angemond talks about in the article on the role of academia in the dredging industry, along with fellow professor Stefan Aarninkhof. Kees’ career began in the field of research and his involvement in the Delta Plan, which was established in response to the great floods of 1953, proved an invaluable learning base.

So while change is inevitable, evolution however, is optional. This special edition marks another evolution in the design of the journal with changes to increase the ease and enjoyment for our readers. Someone who saw many evolutions of Terra during her 25 years as editor is Marsha Cohen, who shares her story with us on page 50. Also in this jubilee issue, we review the court cases that have had an impact on the industry standards over the past 50 years and explore the progress of health and safety in the dredging industry. And in addition to the 2021 winner of IADC’s Young Author Award, whose article you can read on page 14, we caught up some past winners to find out what they’re up to now.

Frank Verhoeven, President, IADC

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