Understanding the system as the key to future-resilient ports and waterways

We have in-depth systemic knowledge about hydrodynamics, morphology, geo-engineering and ecology. By combining that knowledge, we can provide our clients with tailored advice to make ports, waterways and the supporting infrastructure more efficient, sustainable and resilient. Examples include studies of sedimentation and dredging strategies for the Port of Rotterdam Authority to maintain access to the port at reasonable costs. Or studies of nautical safety. This involves looking at modifications to port layouts or new mooring technologies for safe and efficient port operations, such as ShoreTension.

Understanding the system is the key to tailored consultancy. With our knowledge, we assess the feasibility of new port developments. We also help our clients to keep existing port and waterway infrastructure operational, even in the context of climate change.

Advanced software and unique laboratory facilities

To promote knowledge development for ports and waterways, we use our software: Delft3D, SWAN and CFD, for example. We develop that software in-house so that we can access new knowledge quickly and use it in projects. In addition, we have unique experimental laboratory facilities. We have basins and flumes to test port layouts, wave penetration and breakwaters. But we also have a water and soil flume for testing new dredging technologies and a physical and chemical laboratory to determine sediment properties. We use those facilities in both consultancy and knowledge development projects to answer questions from port authorities, waterway managers and the private sector.

Collaboration on innovations and guidelines

We work closely with our clients and knowledge partners to develop new knowledge, innovations and guidelines. In knowledge coalitions, we combine real-world questions with our expertise, software and facilities. In that way, we generate applied knowledge with added value for our partners.

An example of a knowledge coalition of this kind is SmartPort. Working with the Port of Rotterdam Authority, companies in the port and knowledge institutes, we devise innovations to make the port smarter and prepare it for the future. For example, we are working with inland shipping companies on a “Digital Twin” to support inland shipping logistics when water levels on the Rhine are extreme. We share the knowledge developed in open source software, papers, guidelines and training courses. Examples include guidelines for assessing quay walls and scour protection to extend lifespans and save costs and materials.

We help government authorities, consultancy firms, contractors and investors with the cost-efficient, sustainable and future-resilient management and use of ports and waterways. That work includes updating technical guidelines and reducing costs, material consumption and emissions.

Wiebe de Boer

What we offer

  • information and statistics about hydrodynamic conditions (waves, currents, and water levels) in and around ports for safe and efficient port design and operations, including operational forecasts, normal and extreme conditions, and climate projections;
  • analysis and prediction of sedimentation in ports (including access channels) and fairways, and advice about dredging strategies and the beneficial use of sediment;
  • the evaluation of port designs in terms of layout, breakwaters, quay walls and locks, as well as the consequences for water quality, ecology and the coast in the vicinity;
  • analyses of climate impacts and adaptation measures for ports and waterways;
  • assessments of water levels and the bed morphology of fairways for safe and reliable inland shipping;
  • advice about the renovation and upgrading of hydraulic infrastructure (“water-based engineering structures”) and the impact on the associated water and transportation networks;
  • analyses of the interactions between hydrological and meteorological conditions, vessels and infrastructure, for example with respect to scour and bed protection alongside quay walls.


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