Industry News

Port of Dover Reaching Key Milestones in Dredging Effort

Specialist vessels have started to arrive at the Port of Dover, UK for the commencement of harbor dredging for the Port's flagship Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development, which will enhance essential port capacity and kick-start local regeneration. The DWDR is a one-off opportunity to bring new investment into the area.

With UK Government planning approval and supported by a mix of private finance and European Union grant funding, DWDR aims to deliver:

  • A transformed waterfront to ultimately attract a host of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants with Dover's unique backdrop of the harbor, cliffs and castle;
  • Relocation and further development of the cargo business with a new cargo terminal and distribution center;
  • Creation of greater space within the Eastern Docks for ferry traffic; and
  • Employment opportunities for local people.

DWDR is the single biggest investment ever undertaken by the Port of Dover with c.£250m committed to deliver the first phase.

The DWDR Principal Contractor, a joint venture between VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster (VSBW), has mobilized various items of floating equipment which has begun arriving in Dover to undertake initial harbor dredging to remove soft sediment. The first vessel to arrive was the ‘Kreeft’, a self-propelled crane barge which is fitted with bespoke attachments for the identification and removal of obstructions.

Dredging vessels include two trailing suction hopper dredgers, the 1,500m³ capacity ‘Sospan Dau’ and one of the 4,500m3 Causeway class vessels. These will dredge, remove and relocate soft sediment to the designated offshore licensed disposal area.

Harder material will be dredged with the ‘MP40’ backhoe dredger, which will transfer dredged material to the 800m³ self-discharging split hopper barges ‘Wadden 1’ and ‘Wadden 4’ for removal to the disposal area. The trailer dredgers and split hoppers will be steaming regularly between the Port and the disposal area ahead of the initial piling program.

Harbor dredging is a standard practice within the Port industry usually undertaken as part of harbor maintenance and prior to major marine civil engineering developments. To facilitate these operations, there will be other support vessels such as tugs and survey vessels operating within the harbor.

Stuart Eckersley, Project Director for VSBW, stated: “Starting the main dredging activities marks an important milestone for the project. We will be seeing a range of specialist vessels operating in the harbor from Boskalis Westminster’s extensive dredging fleet.”

Approximately one million cubic meters of silt, gravel and chalk will be removed from the harbour to allow for the creation of a purpose-built cargo and logistics facility, a new marina and a transformed waterfront at Europe’s busiest ferry Port.

Jack Goodhew, General Manager – Special Projects, Port of Dover, said: “The start of the preparatory dredging works for DWDR is another visible sign of our commitment to deliver this strategic infrastructure development, identified by the Government in its National Infrastructure Delivery Plan as a priority for port capacity investment.”

The Port expects to welcome up to twenty different VSBW vessels over the next eight weeks as it enters the harbor dredging phase this month prior to piling commencing.

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