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OMC’s extensive experience in applying its under keel clearance (UKC) knowledge to optimised channel dredging has saved its clients hundreds of millions of dollars on dredging programs and also reduced impact on the marine environment.

DUKC® green ports go deeper on screen

OMC has completed numerous UKC and dredge optimisation studies around the world and has been able, in combination with its DUKC® operational system, to nearly halve capital dredging requirements in some cases, as seen at New Zealand’s Port Taranaki.

In 2004, the Port’s Operations Manager/Harbour Master Captain Ray Barlow said: “If we were to achieve the aims we had set we had a clear choice; spend $15m on dredging or adopt DUKC plus minimal dredging and spend <$1.5m.”

DUKC® is a cost-effective ‘green’ solution for bringing bigger ships with larger loads safely into port because it enables port authorities to deepen their access channels ‘on screen’ and minimise dredging.

By making optimum use of high tides, OMC’s UKC management technology delivers increased safe sailing drafts and tidal windows and therefore reduces the amount of dredging required.

When ports need to deepen an existing channel to increase their port capacity (as was the case with Port Hedland’s inner harbour), DUKC® can be used to tailor the channel profile to match the depths required for the ships transiting. This reduces the cost and also has less impact on the marine ecosystem.

Unlike traditional channel design based upon assumptions of static UKC requirements, which results in unnecessary dredging and a channel profile that does not match operational requirements, a DUKC® channel design is more efficient because it factors in operational practices.

Using DUKC® technology, OMC’s engineers can isolate the preferred areas to dredge and determine the optimal depths based on each port’s unique channel and transit specifics, environmental conditions, and ship fleet.

OMC’s engineers are experts in this field, led by Executive Director Dr Terry O’Brien who is the only Australasian member of PIANC Working Group No 49 which updated the PIANC international guidelines for channel design published in l997. The new guidelines were published in late 2013 and Dr O’Brien was responsible for the channel design components relevant to UKC.

Below are three case studies which outline the value of applying DUKC® methodology to channel design.

Case 1:

In 2003, OMC completed a study for Harwich Haven Authority to determine the UKC and depth requirements for the approach channels to the port of Felixstowe.

“The work done by OMC International has highlighted the non-optimal profile of the existing channel which has followed use of conventional channel design methods for the most recent (Year 1999) capital dredging program. OMC was commissioned by HHA in 2003 to undertake a study of UKC requirements along the length of the transit. This study demonstrated to our satisfaction that, if DUKC® technology had been employed for channel design at the time of capital dredging, significant savings in dredging volumes and cost (in the order of 15%) could have been achieved, for the same channel yield. The results of this study, and of the ongoing DUKC® trials are now being used to support reductions in maintenance dredging costs in areas where excessive capital dredging was undertaken.”

Captain David Shennan, Harwich Haven (HHA) Harbour Master, UK


Case 2:

In 2003, OMC undertook a study on behalf of Pilbara Iron to determine optimum volumes and locations for dredging in the Port of Dampier approach channels.

“Recently, we have employed OMC services to apply DUKC® methodology to determine optimum depths in the Dampier departure channels. By applying the results of this analysis in recent capital dredging operations, Pilbara Iron have been able to achieve draft gains in the order of 0.2m by dredging only isolated critical locations in the channel.”

Julian Carr-White, Marine Technical Officer, Pilbara Iron, WA.


Case 3:

In 2002, OMC completed analysis for the Geraldton Port Authority using DUKC®  methodology to determine optimum depths for the port approach channels.

“Such use of methodology to determine the design channel profile has resulted in a stepped … effectively optimising the channel at a number of discrete locations considering specific UKC requirements at each location. Such a stepped profile has resulted in a significant reduction in the dredging volumes, and therefore dredging costs, time and environmental impacts, over that which would be achieved using traditional channel design methods.”

Captain David Murgatroyd, Harbour Master, Geraldton Port Authority, WA


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