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Reclaiming port records

Work on the biggest and the last container terminal to be built in Hong Kong’s Rambler Channel is now well under way as Claire Symes discovers

Hong Kong is home to one of the busiest container ports in the world and although it already has eight major terminals, throughput continues to grow. In May last year construction began on Hong Kong’s ninth container terminal (CT9) which will be the largest in Hong Kong.

Six berths and a draft of 15.5m will be enough to handle the latest generation of Super PostPanamax container vessels.

The terminal is being developed by a consortium of port operators made up of Modern Terminals, Hong Kong International Terminals and Asia Container Terminals operating under a 50 year lease granted by the Hong Kong SAR government.

The consortium commissioned consultants Scott Wilson (Hong Kong) and Maunsell Consultants Asia to carry out planning, design, project management and site supervision work. Both have been involved in the development since 1990 when the initial feasibility studies were commissioned by the government. They have also worked, both separately and in joint venture, on other container terminal developments in Hong Kong.

‘The CT9 development is sited on the south eastern shoreline of Tsing Yi, in the north western corner of Hong Kong Harbour and on the opposite side of the Rambler Channel from the existing eight terminals at Kwai Chung, ’ says Scott Wilson/ Maunsell project director Joseph Ho. ‘The finished terminal will occupy a total area of 150ha, 120ha of which is being reclaimed from the Rambler Channel, and it will have a quay frontage of 1.9km.

‘The extra capacity of CT9 means that navigation dredging of the Rambler Channel also becomes necessary.’

A joint venture of Hyundai Engineering & Construction and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation won this contract after competitive tendering. The five year project includes dredging of the Rambler Channel and its approaches, repositioning infrastructure, and the construction of a sea wall and quays. Also included are quayside crane foundations, drainage, paving, lighting towers, and electrical substations.

Offices and other buildings will be built later under a separate contract.

‘Dredging work for the new terminal is now under way and the first berth is due to be handed over by mid-2002. The other five are programmed to be completed progressively, with the last one scheduled to be finished in late 2004, ’ says Ho.

‘One of the biggest challenges facing the contractor will be meeting the completion date for the first berth without exceeding environmental control limits.

Dredging is monitored and regular water quality and noise checks are carried out to ensure the work stays within the stringent guidelines laid down by the government.’

Land reclamation involves a combination of surcharging, vibro-compaction and vertical drains to meet the performance specification and to minimise the potential for differential settlement. The dredging and reclamation is phased to ensure it keeps ahead of the quay construction programme.

The first phase is one of the most demanding as it also involves dredging for the navigation channel. Work is further complicated by construction of culverts, local roads, installation of new services and relocation of services. Completion is scheduled for 2003.

Ho says: ‘Marine mud below the site is being dredged from the sea bed to expose a firm formation level. Dredging is also being carried out to deepen the navigation approach through the Rambler Channel to 15.5m below chart datum.

‘A quarter of the 24M. m 3ofdredged mud has been categorised as slightly contaminated and is being disposed of at specially selected dump sites.’

Some 33M. m 3of marine sand needed for the reclamation is being dredged from marine borrow pits to the south of Tsing Yi.’

The 1.9km long quay will be formed by reinforced concrete supported by piled foundations overlying a rock armoured sloping sea wall.

‘The geology below the terminal site is made up of marine mud, alluvium and completely decomposed granite overlying solid bedrock of unweathered granite, ’ says Ho. ‘Depth to bedrock varies across the site, with the bedrock lying at 26m below ground level at the northern end of the frontage and increasing to 55m at the southern end of the site.

‘Tubular steel piles will be driven to an average depth of 45m to support the reinforced concrete quay deck. A total of 1,847 piles with a 1m diameter will be needed along the frontage.’

With less than 18 months to go until scheduled completion date of the first berth, the terminal is set to take shape rapidly. CT9 occupies the last remaining site on the edge of the Rambler Channel and will play a major part in meeting the growth of what is already the world’s number one container port.

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