Responsible dredging

Niedersachsen Ports

At NPorts one of our important tasks is to maintain the depth of ports and waterways to make our different port locations navigable and safe for shipping. Dredging is a fundamental requirement for the maintenance of ports to keep them functional, accessible and efficient. However it has always an impact on the maritime environment, especially in sensitive areas.

Responsible water depth preservation is not only important to us, but also to different stakeholders who make more sustainable dredging activities necessary, e.g. tourism, island supply, sea rescue organizations, offshore wind operations and many more. But what does sustainable dredging mean for us? From many years of experience with different dredging techniques we have developed five principles for sustainable dredging at our island supply ports:

1) Avoid: Dredging activities are carried out only in designated areas and avoided when possible.

2) Minimize: The impact of unavoidable dredging activities is being minimized to the marine environment by practicing gradually sea dumping, the use of transit sea dumping site for dredging material, the utilization of natural tidal and current dynamics, by scheduling within environmental working windows as well as the use of deterrent measures for land deposition of dredging material.

3) Documentation & Monitioring: An extensive monitoring programm is part of the documentation on dredging activity including many investigations on pollution, morphology, hydrography or biological parameters.

4) Dialogue & Cooperation: Our dredging activities and documentation is transparent and measures have been developed in cooperation with stakeholders – like the National Park – in an annual dialogue format.

5) Improvement: Technological and process improvements are being implemented when possible. We always keep an eye on testing new methods and software, efficient equipment for dredger, propulsion or pumping systems and training programs for our crew.