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Doha New Port Project: Vital development for Qatar

Almost bigger than Doha, the NPP is going to play a significant role in ensuring sustainability for Qatar, and the region in general

JFJ De Nul dredging the access channel to the port and the navy base.
JFJ De Nul dredging the access channel to the port and the navy base.

Qatar has a vision that by 2030, it aims to be able to sustain its development and provide a high standard of living for its growing population.

To do this, vital infrastructure projects are underway, some of which have been fast-tracked since it won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. As a result, construction is evident everywhere in Qatar, including works on road, rail, air and sea.

While media focus has mainly been on the glamorous stadia, happening steadily behind the scenes, is one of the biggest construction projects in the Gulf region — The New Port Project (NPP).

Strategically located south of Doha, the QAR27bn ($7.4bn) megaproject, includes a new port, a new base for the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces and the Qatar Economic Zone 3.

“In total, the port project is about 26km²,” explained Tim Verdon, programme director, AECOM, the programme management consultant on the New Port Project.

One of the main reasons for NPP’s location is the proximity to the existing Mesaieed Industrial City, which has its own port situated on a major shipping channel, explains Verdon, “of which we are taking advantage”. The port handles heavy industries and a wide range of petroleum products.

While Qatar has an existing harbour, it serves more as a domestic facility than an international port. “The importance of the NPP becomes clear when you consider that the current port is reaching maximum throughput capacity and its city-centre location is unable to support healthy expansion,” Verdon explained.

The raw materials needed to complete large construction projects, many of which are now accelerating, will demand capacity which the current port does not have.

“Qatar faces a high demand for construction materials to complete key infrastructure projects in readiness for the Football World Cup in 2022. The port will play a significant role in ensuring these material needs are met and, the major projects already include into their schedules the delivery of the contractors’ materials to the new port,” he added.

FIFA is not the only driver for the hive of construction activity; the 2030 Vision also serves to fuel the many developments throughout the country.

Verdon elaborated: “We see the development of the port as closely aligned to the Qatar National Vision 2030 in the ways it will serve the country’s economic, human, social and environmental development. As a major gateway to Qatar, the port will handle the country’s import volumes, as it completes other major projects well before it hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

“The project will leave behind significant legacy benefits and create long-term employment opportunities in the maritime sector.”

With Qatar’s economy 79% reliant on industry, of which half is related to oil and gas exports, Verdon believes the NPP dovetails perfectly into the Qatar National Vision 2030: “The increased capacity and world-class facilities of the New Port will act as a catalyst for economic growth; aid economic diversification by developing the non-hydrocarbon sector and create a more sustainable economic base, all in line with the 2030 Vision, which has sustainable development at its core.”

So too, developing the country into an import hub for the region will make Qatar more resilient against changes in the global economic environment.

“The port will complement Qatar’s Hamad International Airport and the railways and highways currently under development, which will link the port to other parts of the country for seamless transportation of goods,” Verdon observed.

In addition, he explained that the project aims to expose Qatari talent to a distinctive mega infrastructure project in support of the State of Qatar vision of 2030, making use of local skills and creating jobs.

With so many elements to the NNP, there have been no major delays or additional costs, Verdon assured and elaborated: “To date there are no cost overruns although, like all other major infrastructure projects in Qatar, we contend with the challenge of rising inflation, higher material costs and the cost of recruitment.”

With seven major contractors undertaking construction work on site, the project now has a workforce nearing 9,500 and 2,500 pieces of equipment.

“The project start date was in 2011 first quarter and the completion date of Phase One will be in 2016 when the port will have a capacity of two million TEU [containers],” Verdon assured.

In terms of bid qualification, there are five criteria: bidders must demonstrate adequate cash flow and their cash flow statements are checked to ensure they are financially capable to perform.

They must demonstrate the relevant experience within the project component and they must have a team of experts within the required discipline available for the project duration.

Construction-related contractors must prove they have adequate equipment to undertake the work.

“Evidence of commitment, with the right equipment dedicated on a 100% basis to deliver the project, must be presented,” Verdon stipulated.

“That guarantee is important, contingent on being able to rescind the contract without penalty if they do not live-up to this guarantee. Finally, the companies awarded projects must show they are assuming responsibilities that are within their capabilities.”

He added that over 30 contracts have been awarded to date with a total value of QAR15.4bn (about $4.2bn) with a healthy 53% awarded to local contractors.

“This number will increase as the majority of future packages are buildings and infrastructure, which will be awarded to local Qatari companies,” he informed.

To date, 12.3 million man hours have been worked without a Lost Time Incident. There have been a total of 51,131,600 man hours worked with zero fatalities to date.

Verdon explained: “As the Programme Management Consultant, AECOM is implementing the AECOM Middle East integrated Safety, Health and Environmental (SH&E) Management system site-wide. This integrated management system is accredited to satisfy the requirements of ISO:14001 and also OHSAS 18001.” The system works by identifying, eliminating and minimising risks and is implemented by a strong, capable management team.

At the same time, the ‘Safety for Life’ induction video for all new project employees, delivered in multiple languages, lets each employee know that they are empowered to intervene if they see something wrong; to speak up if they feel they are in danger and to take action to prevent themselves and others around them, from harm or injuries.

Contractors are encouraged to set safety targets and goals and the Project recognises the achievement of significant safety goals.

Verdon proudly explained how the project has minimised impact on the sensitive coastal and marine environments. “Extensive environmental impact studies were carried out in conjunction with Qatar’s Ministry of Environment to identify threatened ecosystems and habitats located in or around the proposed site even before any construction began.

“An independent environmental monitoring consultant is on site constantly monitoring contractors’ work for compliance with conditions of the project’s Environmental Permit granted by the Ministry of Environment relating to noise, dust, air quality, water and sediment quality.

“As a result as of the environmental impact studies with the MoE, the project has relocated (to carefully selected donor sites) 7,600 mangrove seedlings, 11,500m² of seagrass and 13,650 hard corals.”

He continued: “Another example of our commitment to minimise the project’s environmeal impact is our handling of the dredging works for the naval base reclamation.

“The reclamation works generated large volumes of slurry, estimated at 270-million cubic metres. Silt slurry containing fine rock and sediment is transferred via pipeline and slurry channel to a 6km² stilling basin which has an overall capacity of 39-million cubic metres.

“All the silt from the dredged material is drained out and before it re-enters the sea it is tested.

“Only if results show 50 milligrams of suspended solids or less per litre, is the water then released into the sea.”

“Our design consultants are using QSAS/GSAS principles (Global Sustainability Assessment System – the Middle East’s green building rating system) to ensure efficient energy and resource use on the New Port. For example, in designing our landscape irrigation and in the responsible re-use of waste water.

“One of the main concrete suppliers (Unibeton) had their New Port Project concrete plant certified the First Gold Level Sustainable Concrete Plant in the world in October 2013 by a worldwide recognised industry body (NRMCA).
“Implementing responsible sourcing and manufacturing strategies will ultimately lower their environmental footprint.”

Verdon outlined a number of challenges that a project of this magnitude encounters. “The health and safety of workers is always my main concern, as well as their welfare. Construction involves heavy excavation, heavy blasting and reclamation works using advanced technology including heavy duty excavators, rotary drum trench cutters, dredgers and surface miners.

Weather conditions in Qatar play a part in productivity too. “For the quay wall construction, the hot summer months presented complications for the production of the concrete blocks.

Specific measures were taken in the concrete mix design and also in the employment of cooling techniques, such
as using crushed ice and special additives, in order to produce a durable and workable concrete. Most of the casting was done at night as well, when the temperatures as well as the wind speeds are lower.”

Also, managing and coordinating the demands and requirements of all stakeholders, which include ministries and the port facilities’ end users, requires logistical acumen as wel as managing the interface between multiple contractors on site, taking into account the number of pieces of equipment and their workforces.

“As one of the largest greenfield projects in the world and the sheer size of the operations, sets the
New Port Project apart from any other remotely similar undertaking,” Verdon concluded with pride.

Consider this:
• 1.4 million m³ of concrete was used for production of the port quay wall
• 4.9 million tonnes of rock for construction of breakwaters and revetment
• 480 mega watts of power to power the port and navy
• Excavation of 130 million m³ of material (Port Basin + Access Channel + Navy Basin + QEZ3 Basin + QEZ3 Access Channel)
• 8.9million kgs of explosives were used in the excavation of the port basin.

Specifications and scope of work for project

The port
Deepwater port -17m CD

Port basin: over 4km long, 700m wide, with 71 million cubic metres of material to be excavated.

Access channel: is over 10km long, 300m wide, and 15m deep. 37 million cubic metres of material is to be dredged.

Quay wall: 8.5km long, 22m high including 35,224 pre-cast concrete blocks, each weighing between
37 to 110 tonnes.

Three container Terminals: Each with a capacity of 2 million TEU

A multi-use terminal for:
General cargo 1.7 mn tonnes per year
Grain facility 1 mn tonnes per year

Vehicle terminal
500,000 units per year

Facility for the Qatar Coast Guard
Offshore supply base
Over 60 buildings

Naval base
4.5km² of reclaimed land

QEZ 3 Canal
Basin: 1.5km long
Access channel: 7km long
Covers area 5km²

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