Liepaja Port dredging completed by Jan De Nul

Fernão de Magalhães in Liepaja. Credit: Jan De Nul

Capital dredging works for the improvement of Liepaja port, Latvia, have been carried out by Jan De Nul and completed ahead of schedule. Despite challenging weather and soil conditions, the project was delivered in less than 9 months, 1.5 months ahead of schedule.

In order to allow larger vessels to enter and leave the port of Liepaja fully loaded, the access channel to the port needed to be adapted. As part of the Liepaja Port Water Infrastructure Works, Jan De Nul was awarded the dredging works.

The scope for Jan De Nul Group entailed the removal of 2.7 million m³ of sediment to deepen the port access channel from 12.5 m to 14.5 m, and to create a new navigation channel of -14 m towards one of the main bulk terminals within the port area.

The company faced challenging weather and soil conditions during the execution of the project. Liepaja is one of the three major ports in Latvia, located along the west coast. It is known for cold temperatures in winter and adverse weather conditions in general.

A big challenge for the dredging vessels were also the high waves that regularly can be observed in the Baltic Sea, especially during winter as Liepaja’s nickname – the city where the wind is born – suggests.

For the dredging works, the self-propelled cutter suction dredger Fernão de Magalhães, assisted by three split hopper barges, was chosen because of the heterogeneous material in the Baltic Sea. The vessel had to remove very hard-to-dredge glacial sediments of sand, clay, stone, and large boulders.