Every dredging project starts with a certain need. A port authority might want to expand its existing port to accommodate the rise in global trade, or a government or municipality might express the need for coastal protection measures. Perhaps a property developer wishes to reclaim land for residential areas. Once the need for dredging works has occurred, a plan needs to be made.
This plan includes the objective and scope of the dredging project. Questions like: what is the purpose of the dredging activities? Which parties have a stake in the project? Who is responsible and who will act as the customer? What will the end result have to look like? What is the budget and what will the return on the investment be? When should it be ready, what hurdles are likely to be encountered, and do we have the necessary knowledge and equipment, or is a contractor going to do the work? These all have to be answered. Based on the preliminary project plan, the feasibility of the plan is assessed, so that the employer can decide on whether or not to go ahead with a project.
Some of the most common types of dredging projects are:
- channel and port maintenance
- channel and port construction or deepening (capital dredging)
- coastal protection and beach nourishment
- land reclamation
- mining and aggregate dredging
- offshore works and pipeline trenches
- improvement of the environment
And as dredging can affect the environment and different interests, there might be opposition. As a result, usually it takes a considerable period of negotiations between the parties involved and political discussions before a final decision of approval is made. After approval, the procurement process is the next phase towards the start of the project.