Bam reveals expansion milestones of Saqr Port in Ras Al Khaimah
The Dutch contracting giant is working on Phases 1 and 2 of Saqr Port's expansion
The UAE has a large number of ports that facilitate local trade and business activity, and an ongoing construction project backed by one of Ras Al Khaimah’s (RAK) maritime authorities will further expand maritime-based contributions to the economy. Saqr Port, a bulk-handling facility located at the foot of RAK’s Hajar Mountains, is currently at the centre of the major expansion programme that is due to reshape port operation in the Northern Emirate.
Saqr Port handles “the majority” of the almost-60 million tonnes of cargo that RAK Ports handles each year, according to the latter’s website. The under-expansion port facility also “feeds into the burgeoning quarrying industry within [RAK], which produces sufficient quantities of aggregate, cement, and other building materials to serve the majority of the construction projects within the GCC,” RAK Ports’ website continues.
“This makes Saqr Port a vital part of the industrial supply chain throughout all of the Arabian Peninsula and beyond, providing materials for projects on a massive scale such as Expo 2020 Dubai,” the website adds.
Dutch construction and engineering giant Bam International is working on Phases 1 and 2 of the Saqr Port expansion project in RAK. In a statement shared with Construction Week, Bam says its scope on the project “comprises dredging work, construction of a 720m-long quay wall, [and] stripping an existing breakwater”.
“Reclamation works, topsides furniture, paving, drainage and lighting are also included in the contract,” adds Bam, which was awarded Health and Safety Initiative of the Year honours at the Construction Week Awards 2017, held in Dubai last December.
Saqr Port Authority is Bam’s client on the RAK expansion scheme, for which CH2M – the newly acquired outfit of US engineering company Jacobs – is working as consultant. Bam lists 15 February 2017 as its start date for the project, and 15 March 2019 as its completion date.
“On 10 October 2018, our Saqr Port project team successfully handed over 360m of berth, along with basin turning circle (-18mCD) on time as per the milestone,” Bam’s statement continues.
“At times, this milestone seemed to be far in the distance, considering the restrictions of having to work in open seas without the protection of breakwaters; however, the team has pulled out all the stops to deliver it on time. We also celebrated another internal milestone on 10 October 2018, with the successful completion of the block placing by our marine team and IB 429 crane barge.”
The IB 429 crane barge is a piece of equipment designed and built by Bam for the implementation of heavy marine works, particularly for the construction of jetties that have large-diameter mono pile dolphins, and for the lifting of heavy prefabricated rack units (topside and pipe). Manufactured by PLM Cranes, the IB 429’s main and auxiliary hoists respectively have a maximum lifting capacity of 2x200 ton and 25 ton. It also features a 60m boom and Caterpillar’s C32 engine. Bam says the crane barge caters to market demand for marine construction with increasingly heavy modularised components, “which require large lifting capacity and bigger and more stable barges”.
Saqr Port Authority, according to Bam, stayed “true to [its] ambitious plans” for the project – after taking receipt of the berth, the authority welcomed “a Panamax Vessel Cemex Leader” at 10pm on the same day.
On 1 November 2018, RAK Ports announced the opening of a deepwater berth recently constructed at Saqr Port. It is one of the two new berths planned as part of a project that “has been ongoing since mid-2017, and is one of the largest engineering initiatives” under way in the UAE’s Northern Emirates in recent years.
Berth 1 of Saqr Port was completed this October and is now fully operational, RAK Ports said in a statement. Chief executive officer of RAK Ports, Capt Cliff Brand, said Berth 2 is “scheduled to complete in March 2019”.
Brand – who is also general manager of Saqr Port Authority, according to the company’s port tariff document for 2018 – added: “The opening of our first new berth […] significantly increases the capacity of Saqr Port, which already handles in excess of 55 million tonnes of cargo per year. With the second new berth scheduled to complete in March 2019 we envision significant growth in the number of vessel and cargo movements through Saqr Port in future years, consolidating [its] status as one of the region’s leading bulk-handling ports.”