The Middle East oil boom of the late 1970s prompted a series of major port construction projects in the Gulf. Among the biggest was Dubai drydock, a vast project which dominated Dubai's economy during construction. Around 4,000 - mainly foreign workers - equivalent to 4% of the local population, worked on the project at peak. Contracting joint venture Costain Taylor Woodrow had to cast a 162 giant, 3,500t reinforced concrete caissons to form the dry dock. Each one took about two and a half days to cast using a suspended shutter slipforming system.
Getting aggregates to the site was a major operation in itself. The contractor had to build a 110km road through the desert to the nearest suitable quarry.