Bechtel, the global engineering, construction, and project management company, has created a revolutionary design for ports that could transform shipping in Africa. The Multi-User Offshore Hub is designed for two or more users. It consists of an offshore, a smart terminal arrangement and a docking system that can accommodate oceangoing vessels and barges. The Multi-User Offshore Hub has the potential to open new market opportunities for African ports by significantly increasing the capacity and substantially reducing port construction and operation costs.
Marco Pluijm, Bechtel's senior ports specialist, who unveiled the Multi-User Offshore Hub concept today at the African Ports Evolution 2013 Forum in Cape Town, said, "This solution could provide a reduction of up to 40% in port infrastructure construction costs compared with building a traditional port and up to 50% in operational cost savings as the hub can handle much larger Capesize and Valemax vessels, which result in economies of scale."
The Multi-User Offshore Hub concept combines a country's existing transport modes, such as rail and river barges, to provide the most efficient and sustainable logistics possible. Bechtel is currently identifying suitable sites for a Multi-User Offshore Hub in countries in both East and West Africa.
The Multi-User Offshore Hub concept builds on Bechtel's on-going commitment to improve shipping capabilities in Africa. The company is also leading a three-year joint-industry research project to improve the safety of mooring large cargo ships off the coast of West Africa. Both initiatives are instrumental in upgrading and expanding port infrastructure needs in Africa.