Van Oord and DEME are extremely proud to have accomplished the deepening of the S´winoujs´cie-Szczecin Fairway, one of the most important dredging projects in Poland’s history. Together with the Ministry of Transport and the Maritime Office of Szczecin, the joint venture partners celebrated the official opening of the 65 km Fairway today (May 9).
Providing access from the Baltic Sea, the Fairway runs between the city of S´winoujs´cie and the Port of Szczecin. With approximately 24 million m3 of material dredged, the channel has been deepened by 2 m to -12.5 m, which enables the Port of Szczecin to handle the next generation of vessels.
Despite exceptional challenges, including carrying out most of the work during the pandemic and the presence of large amounts of unexploded ordnance, as well as thick ice in winter, the ambitious Design & Build project was completed on time, highlighting the tremendous efforts of the JV team. DEME’s cutter suction dredger ‘Amazone’ even mobilised at the very beginning of the pandemic, although there were lockdowns in both Poland and Belgium. When the project was nearing completion, it was hit by two heavy storms leading to a fresh build-up of sedimentation, which meant the team had to remobilise again to dredge to the target depth.
Cutting-edge dredger fleet deployed
The enormous scale of this project is reflected in the numbers. More than 2,000 people were employed over its duration. The joint venture partners focused on working with local parties as much as possible and the non-dredging works were largely executed by Polish companies. Ten main dredging units were deployed along the Fairway, including Van Oord’s trailing suction hopper dredgers ‘Vox Amalia’ and ‘HAM317’ and DEME’s ‘Meuse River’ and dual fuel trailing suction hopper dredger ‘Scheldt River’. These next generation dredgers are all able to pump material over long distances – up to 8 km in this case - without the need of a booster station.