Optimising ports for maintenance and environment

Around 90 % of the world trade is carried by the international shipping industry. Changing environmental conditions and continuous developments in the shipping industry, such as the construction of bigger and possibly even un-manned ships, ask for continuous adaptation and optimization of the port’s operations. At the same time, we see increasing urbanization of coastal areas and a rising awareness of the value of our ecosystems. These trends ask for innovative solutions that align port infrastructure with the requirements from society and nature.

Deltares assists port industry stakeholders with the optimization and expansion of existing ports as well as the development of new large-scale seaports and smaller-scale marinas and yacht harbours for recreational use. We are able to assist in many aspects over the full lifecycle of the port. Our cutting-edge advice ranges from assistance in the design of port lay-outs to estimations of maintenance dredging needs and the quantification of environmental impacts, within the timeframe and on a level that fits the requirements of our clients.

We distinguish ourselves in these services by making use of and developing:

  • Rapid-assessments In addition to our detailed studies, we offer rapid assessments using tools incorporated with our latest experience and knowledge, built up over our long-term involvement in port studies. A rapid assessment provides our client an initial insight in only several days.
  • Integrated approaches Our unique in-house facilities allow us to offer an integrated study approach, such as the combination of physical testing of breakwater design, numerical modelling of environmental conditions and maintenance dredging needs, laboratory experiments on collected seabed samples and/or specialist monitoring services during field campaigns.
  • Understanding and quantification of uncertainties To allow our clients to take risk-informed decisions, we work with probabilistic methods that are at the same time sufficiently accurate and computationally efficient to meet the demand for quantified information on uncertainties.
  • Accurate physics. Our numerical modelling software, including Delft3D, is world-leading and has been developed over three decades. As a research institute, we are continuously improving the physics of our modelling software such as flow-wave interaction, sand-mud interaction and consolidation of mud. These improvements results in more accurate predictions and better advice to our clients.
  • Remote sensing Remote sensing is a growing and valuable source of information. Therefore, we develop algorithms to detect high-frequent, spatial information in the marine environment from satellite and X-band radar imagery. Satellite imagery proves to be useful to study historic coastal developments, especially in data scarce environments.

Example of numerical modelling of a port  in Delft3D

We use in-house developed state-of-the-art numerical modelling software to address a wide variety of port-related aspects such as navigability, wave penetration, port sedimentation, coastal impacts and water quality. We share our knowledge in open source numerical modelling software such as Delft3D and XBeach. Deltares is continuously working to strengthen its expertise as a leading, specialist consultant in the port industry.