Ports are infrastructure intended for the purporse of vessels docking to load and unload goods or people. Harbours are bodies of water where ships, boats and barges can be docked. Ports and harbours may be situated along coastal or in-land waterways.
The planning of ports is an inherently multidisciplinary activity which requires expertise in the field of transport economics, shipping, nautical matters, safety and logistics. Factors which are important include waves and currents, sediment transport and coastal morphology, dredging and land reclamation, and design of breakwaters and quays.
Safe navigation in ports and waterways should be insured by the port authorities and a good safety record is of utmost importance for the competitive position of the harbours. An important factor for safe navigation is the space that is available under a ship’s keel, known as the under keel clearance (UKC).
The challenge of maintaining harbours and ports while conserving and sustaining coastal habitats, with all the rich resources they provide, requires that port and harbours do more to develop approaches to maintenance dredging that provide benefit to these neighbouring habitats. In this article, we describe an example from Harwich Harbour in the UK where Harwich Haven Authority (the Conservancy Authority) is looking to move to a more nature-based maintenance dredging methodology, using agitation dredging. Using the results of monitoring and sophisticated numerical modelling, we evaluate the likely benefit to the Stour/Orwell intertidal areas arising from the use of the agitation dredging.
In June 2019, the research team of the LIFE MARINAPLAN PLUS project began operating the first-of-a-kind demonstration plant installation at the harbour entrance of Marina di Cervia (Italy). Fulfilling the project’s objective to apply at industrial scale a reliable technology for the sustainable management of sediment in marine infrastructures, this technology prevents harbour silting through the use of submerged devices called ‘ejectors’ installed on the seabed.
The international dredging and maritime construction industry remains quite devoid of the use of mediation as a tool for Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mediation is outlined to broaden familiarity with mediation, increase confidence in the process, and inform about the benefits it can bring to the industry at large.
Dredging is essential for the maintenance and development of ports, harbours and waterways to allow for safe navigation, remediation and flood management. The process, which relocates large volumes of sediment, can be accompanied by the release of suspended sediments into the water column referred to as sediment plumes.