Belgo-Dutch venture completes largest dredging project in Poland’s history

On 9 May, Dutch ambassador Daphne Bergsma, Belgium’s ambassador Luc Jacobs and Dutch trade counsellor Sanne Kaasjager participated in the official celebration of the completion of the works on the Świnoujście-Szczecin Fairway. Two maritime contracting giants – Dutch company Van Oord and Belgian company DEME - pulled off one of the most important dredging projects in Poland’s history.  

Together with their principals, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Maritime Office of Szczecin, the joint venture partners hosted several dignitaries and partners for a site visit. Apart from diplomatic participation, Poland’s Secretaries of State Marek Gróbarczyk (Maritime and Water Affairs), Małgorzata Golińska (Nature & Wildlife) and Undersecretary of State Grzegorz Witkowski (Maritime Economy) honored the event with their presence and inaugural speeches.

The project is truly unique in several ways:

  • The two main contractors Van Oord and DEME are often fierce rivals in obtaining assignments to carry out large-scale maritime projects. For this mammoth project the two competitors joined hands.
  • The project also included construction, with dredged material, of two artificial island, one of which was immediately “seized” as a breeding place for a diverse range of birds, including some endangered species.
  • Every tree that had to be cut for the project was replaced by a newly planted tree. In total 9.000 trees and bushes were planted in and around the project location.
  • Other mind-boggling statistics: 24 x Poland’s national stadium (1 mln m3) was dredged, 2,5 mln manhours were performed, >350 Ha of land added to Polish territory, 2.000 people and 15 nationalities were employed (no accidents), 15.000 COVID-tests had to be carried out, 10 dredging units were deployed and the project costs amounted to EUR 340 mln.
  • The joint venture worked as much as possible with local parties, non-dredging works were executed by Polish partners.