Offshore Centre Maasvlakte 2

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The Port of Rotterdam Authority is to develop a new Offshore Centre at the Prinses Alexia docks, part of the Maasvlakte 2 land reclamation site. The centre will be a base for companies involved in offshore wind energy, whether constructing new turbines or dismantling the current oil and gas platforms. The Port Authority is thus preparing to take advantage of the opportunities offered by these growth markets.

Witteveen+Bos is closely involved in the overall area development programme. During the planning phase, we provided geotechnical advice on the land reclamation process, calculating the required volumes using a 3D simulation model. More recently, we were approached to undertake the engineering for the ‘heavy load’ deep-sea facilities and to provide further advice on the ‘infill’ of the 70-hectare site. The dockside areas must have a particularly high safe working load to accommodate the weight of the components used to construct offshore wind turbines. The raising of new land is to be undertaken by the PUMA consortium. Witteveen+Bos is responsible for all geotechnology aspects, including monitoring volumes and the measuring the settling rate of the infill material.

In tendering for this project, Witteveen+Bos was able to highlight three of its sustainable design principles. A ‘future-proof’ design is particularly important because it is entirely possible that the sectors will take on a different form over the next ten years. The deep-sea quay has a design life cycle of fifty years, which calls for a very flexible design approach. It must be possible to accommodate changes in usage with relatively simple modifications. The ‘Trias’ principle has been applied to ensure that energy and resources are used in the most efficient way possible. A third important design principle is that of participation and consultation: all prospective users were asked to list their requirements and preferences, which were taken into account during the decision-making process.

Witteveen+Bos has formulated seven principles of sustainable design. We believe them to be an important means of maximizing the positive impact of the engineering profession as we strive to achieve full sustainability. These principles underpin all our project proposals. Flexible design, the Trias concept and full participation proved to be decisive factors in winning this contract.