Travaux de dragage dans le port de Gdynia

Deepening the port of Gdynia, Poland

In northern Poland on the Baltic Sea lies Gdynia. Historically a small fishing village, but things changed in the 1920s when the Polish government ordered the construction of a port in the area. The port of Gdynia soon grew into a universal seaport, and the city around it into one of Poland's largest port cities. Since 2022, Jan De Nul Group has been working in Gdynia to deepen certain port areas. Thanks to this, the port remains accessible to even the largest ships sailing the Baltic Sea, keeping Gdynia competitive with neighbouring ports such as Gdansk, and foreign ones.

The port of Gdynia was built in the last century to boost the economy of Poland, and by extension Europe. The works we are carrying out in Gdynia today serve that same purpose. In 2022, Gdynia's port authority, ZMPG, commissioned Jan De Nul Group to deepen certain port areas, from 13 metres to 16 metres. These works should make the port accessible to larger container ships and bulk carriers. In addition, we also raised the seabed in other port zones that were too deep to ensure the stability of the quay walls. These works aim to keep Gdynia competitive with neighbouring ports within Poland, such as Gdansk 20 kilometres away, as well as foreign ones. Job security in and around the port, additional jobs, investment and further development of the port and city should follow.

A diverse dredging fleet

To carry out this project, we deployed a diverse Jan De Nul fleet. Trailing suction hopper dredgers Charles Darwin and Pedro Álvares Cabral, backhoe dredger Vitruvius, split hopper Magellano, and water injection dredger Cosette all contributed to the realisation of the full project scope. For Cosette, the dredging works in Gdynia were its maiden project. Thanks to its compact size, the vessel can dredge in zones close to the quay walls and in more difficult to reach areas. It thus perfectly complements the work of the larger dredgers active on this project.

A varied project scope

Following the dredging and backfilling scope, we also executed bottom reinforcement works on the seabed in certain parts of the port. For this, we worked together with subcontractor Strabag. Before we started the dredging works, we first removed part of the old bottom reinforcement. After dredging, we applied new bottom reinforcement. This way, we create a resistant surface to protect a large part of the bottom from erosion caused by ship propellers. On top of that, we removed old telecom cables and drilled new ones 25 metres below the port.

But before we could do any of this, we had to complete a ferromagnetic campaign. The port of Gdynia was badly impacted during World War II. The Estonian company ESC took charge of the survey campaign for unexploded ordnances. With survey and scanning operations, several explosives were detected and dismantled. Only then could we start dredging and bottom reinforcement operations in complete safety.

We started the works in the port of Gdynia in mid-2022 and foresee to complete them in 16 months time, by the end of 2023.