Author(s): B. A. Bakermans; A. J. Van Der Hout; B. W Ijdeven
Keywords: Open ports; Environmentally exposed; Alternative port design; Container terminals
Abstract: This paper proposes and evaluates an innovative way of designing container ports, based on MSc–research work carried out at Delft University of Technology, in close cooperation with Deltares. The open port is defined as an offshore and environmentally exposed port. This innovative way of designing ports may be the solution for existing and upcoming problems of large container ports in deltas, such as sedimentation and lack of space. The focus of this present paper is on ports for container vessels. This is because container terminals involve the most stringent criteria on environmental conditions. Traditionally, ports for seagoing container vessels are located in deltas. Main advantage of the location of ports in these deltas is the natural shelter, which is needed for the safe mooring of vessels and for the efficient handling of containers and cargo. Deltas often provide a limited depth and in combination with growing vessel dimensions, dredging costs will generally increase in the future. Moreover, the economic value of deltas becomes higher. Therefore, container ports have no room for expansions and existing ports experience a lot of pressure or public resistance in urbanized regions. Finally, large ports and their breakwaters often have a negative impact on the coastal morphology of deltas. Both morphology and ecology may be disturbed due to a port located in the surf zone of a delta. The idea of an open container port is proposed to avoid these negative consequences of a traditional port layout and location. A technical analysis showed that an exposed container port may be feasible. This relates to recent innovations in mooring techniques and the increasing container vessel dimensions. A potential location for an open container port, Nigeria, is described. A fictitious open port layout was designed based on an offshore reclaimed island. This open port is located at a distance from shore where the natural depth is sufficient for the mooring of the largest container vessels. The analysis showed that the open port concept may be applicable for different situations and conditions.