Main drivers for dredging projects remain valid - investment in R&D remains steady says Koos van Oord
News - December 11, 2009
Questioned recently about the outlook for the dredging industry in the coming years given recent economic developments and the impact of the economic downturn on investment decisions, Koos van Oord, President of the Board of the International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC), made an upbeat assessment of the market.
He noted that the underlying drivers for dredging – population growth, energy needs, expanding global trade, tourism, the environment and climate change – remain strong, and said these drivers remain valid regardless of the short-term economic prognosis.
"Dredging is a pragmatic, hands-on business geared to problem-solving, an industry that involves investigation and experimentation to determine what works and what doesn’t and why," said a spokesperson or Terra et Aqua. "To succeed requires long-term investments in new technologies. This is the essential strength of the major international dredging companies. They are accustomed to conducting exhaustive studies to find the best design, the best piece of equipment, the best method of providing quality work suited to the specific client. They are used to assessing the risks and benefits of particular methods, with the goal of ensuring the best possible outcome for their clients, economically, socially and environmentally."
Articles in the current issue of Terra et Aqua cover subjects ranging from the coast of France to the Black Sea coast to the US, and reflect this entrepreneurial ability to “think outside of the box”.
They include a pioneering method of processing contaminated dredged material at the Port of Dunkirk in France by building a treatment facility for naturally dewatering sediment; an unusual technique for building a more secure breakwater at the Port of Poti, Georgia, which required detailed design and preparation for the rehabilitation;
an innovative on-the-job safety programme that calls for integrated and personal responsibility throughout the organisation and far exceeded governmental regulations; and a novel system of estimating soil properties, a process essential to cost-effective dredging, this last article being based on an ongoing research project conducted by one of the dredging industry’s many young researchers.
"This commitment to investment in R&D is the backbone of the international dredging
industry and contributes to finding optimal solutions for clients. Also crucial is the industry’s belief in investing in people – young professionals with expertise in engineering, management, finances and law as well as officers and crew onboard dredging vessels," said Terra et Aqua.
"The drivers of dredging are constant - infrastructure needs do not disappear because of an economic downturn. And the dredging industries commitment to investment and innovation is also constant. It is part of the industry’s long-term vision aimed at helping clients find the best solutions to their infrastructure needs."