Mr. Nikhil Kaitwade, Research Head – Industrial Goods at Fact.MR discusses latest trends shaping Europe’s harbor deepening marketplace
Harbor deepening market is growing at a balanced pace in the wake of national governments engaged in strengthening the seaborne trade worldwide to increase economic output. With the introduction of larger shipping vessels to achieve economical logistics operations, a number of projects are underway to increases the depth of existing harbors and to accommodate these larger vessels.
Europe inhabits few of the busiest ports in the world while handling loading and unloading of millions of tons of cargos annually. In addition, European companies continue to operate smooth businesses with Asia and Africa owing to favorable trade regulations. A number of harbor deepening projects in pipeline, as well as proposed future plans, are set to propel the demand for harbor deepening services in Europe in the coming years.
Key harbor deepening market players continue their operations through Europe waters that are involved in services of government organizations, private organizations, oil & gas companies and mining & energy companies. However, uncertainties associated with Brexit continue to hover around the UK’s future trajectory of trade operations thereby impacting the harbor deepening market in the future.
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What are the important harbor deepening projects happening that sustain the growth of harbor deepening services in the region?
As the hub of the world’s important ports, Europe’s important commercial ports are engaged in harbor deepening activities to enhance the capacities of trade operations.
- Charleston Harbor Deepening Project received funding of US$ 41.4 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) which will support the progress of deepening to 52 feet by 2021, making the port with the deepest harbor on Europe’s East coast
- The Port of Rotterdam Authority proposed plans to initiate deepening of the Nieuwe Waterweg and the Botlek ports in the spring of 2018 with the aim to allow the New Panamax and Aframax ships to navigate in these ports without restrictions
- Deepening of the Elbe has been sanctioned by Germany’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig in August 2018. Port of Hamburg also plans to construct a passing channel to increase carrier volume under the same sanction.
- In the UK, Peterhead Harbour Redevelopment Project commenced in 2016 was completed in 2018 with the joint operations of McLaughlin & Harvey and Boskalis Westminster to carry out strengthening and deepening of quay walls within the port.
How will Brexit impact the trade activities in the UK?
As Britain’s participation in the free trade agreements of EU remains uncertain beyond Brexit, the UK trade is at the risk of loss of billions of euros after Brexit. While this loss is associated with the new UK trade policies in the pipeline and the UK’s separation form EU, Brexit or no-Brexit, a House of Commons Committee remains unsure regarding the benefits related to the free trade agreements in the future. However, current trade agreements allow the UK to engage in trade deals across the globe, which is likely to undergo a dramatic transition post-Brexit.
How are European ports ensuring sustainable operations associated with harbor deepening activities?
As port cities continue to dredge deeper to achieve deeper belts accommodating larger vessels, it carries the risk of inland flooding. As the waterways become smoother and deeper, changes in the hydrodynamics of rivers and estuaries can change dramatically and invite in the sea. This can further lead to rising of sea level, change in water ecosystem and risks of flooding. European port dredging projects are accompanied by an extensive study of geotechnical assessment and reclamation activities to maximize sustainable benefit by reusing dredge spoil as fill material.
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