Dredging measures up to sustainability management
Today, developing a strategy for corporate responsibility on sustainability is a high priority for any maritime business; for a dredging sector directly engaged in changing local environments, often in plain view of the general public, it is a key business driver.
In fact, the public bodies responsible for infrastructure are increasingly making environmental criteria central to awarding contracts. According to Nathalie Balcaen, chief executive officer of the Dutch Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services (MDK): "We pay particular attention to green criteria when we define specifications for the market. This is already leading to concrete CO2 reductions.”
Environmental impacts from the shipping and offshore sectors will be high on the agenda at Europort 2019 between November 5th-8th at Rotterdam’s Ahoy Centre, and the dominance of the dredging sector by regional players promises special insights on mitigation from a high-tech industry.
Leading dredging contractors, many based in the Benelux region, are responding proactively where environmental themes are concerned. Van Oord, for example, recently presented a white paper on Accelerating Climate Initiatives to underline its ambitions for mitigation, highlighting ways of meeting climate change challenges through a range of adaptation measures.
Meanwhile, Jan de Nul recently said that it wanted a 15% reduction in CO2 to become a minimum requirement in 80% of maintenance dredging contracts in Flanders. Bart Praet, Head of Dredging Works Benelux at Jan de Nul, commented, "We want to make the utmost effort and in doing so inspire other companies in our sector to focus on energy or CO2 reduction measures.”
Investment in green dredging designs and technology is also much in evidence. Belgian contractor DEME has taken delivery of the LNG-fuelled trailing suction hopper dredger Bonny River and has another LNG-powered dredger on order. That latter - Spartacus - is claimed to be the most powerful cutter suction dredger in the world on order.
Again, Royal Boskalis Westminster has used biofuel on an offshore wind farm project in recent months with reportedly positive results, while Jan de Nul is also focusing on drop-in biofuel to achieve its ambitious CO2 reduction targets.
As noted, though, the environmental responsibilities of the dredging sector are perhaps more closely scrutinized at the local level than any other part of the maritime industries.
Raymond Siliakus, Europort Exhibition Manager, observes: "Dredging is subject to the same challenges of reducing emissions and adopting the smart technologies that improve efficiency as other sectors in the maritime space, but it faces the added pressure of environmental management.”
Maintaining a proactive position in this part of the sector’s environmental responsibilities will therefore also be a dominant theme for dredging participants at Europort 2019, and at the Central Dredging Association (CEDA)’s Dredging Days conference which once more runs alongside Europort. Held over two days between 7th-8th November, CEDA Dredging Days is the sector’s primary forum, where leading researchers and industry experts gather to share ideas, discuss challenges and consider potential solutions. Its successful formula includes a mix of contributed peer-reviewed technical paper sessions, academic and interactive sessions, the Young CEDA pitch talks session and a technical exhibition.