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Design, Construction & Maintenance contract

Freedom and conditions

Three consortiums competed for the contract to design and realise Maasvlakte 2. One party withdrew during the selection process. The outcome of the competition between the two remaining parties - the Belgian consortium Jan de Nul and Dredging International and the Dutch consortium Boskalis and Van Oord - was uncertain until the very last moment.

The preparations for the tender procedure started in 2005. At the time, it was decided not to require the contractors to work with an elaborate, detailed plan as a point of departure. Instead, they were presented a Programme of Requirements. For example, one of the requirements was: during a storm with waves of up to 9 m that lasts for 20 hours, the water is not allowed to reach beyond the rear of the seawall. But the precise shape of the seawall itself is up to the contractor. This way, the contractor is encouraged to seek the most efficient design, and the result always meets expectations.

The first round

Several dredging companies applied in the first phase of the tender procedure. The Port of Rotterdam Authority ultimately selected three parties with whom it entered the design & construction process, which runs from design to support during execution. One party, Ballast Nedam in partnership with a number of foreign firms, pulled out in that phase. Continuing the tender procedure with only two parties - the Belgian consortium Jan de Nul and Dredging International and the Dutch consortium Boskalis and Van Oord - resulted in a clear situation but also increased the risks. The competition kept both bidders on their toes in this phase.

Winning on price and quality

In 2006, the Belgian and Dutch consortiums submitted their first bids, on the basis of their provisional designs. In September 2007, the Port Authority received the final bids on the basis of designs that had been developed a lot further. The Port Authority subsequently held talks with both parties to determine which possibilities there were to cut costs. In December 2007, the Port Authority cut the proverbial knot and chose the Boskalis-Van Oord consortium.

Bundling strengths

Both Boskalis and Van Oord could have realised the construction under their own steam. Nevertheless, the two companies decided to work together. A project of this size takes up too much of a company's individual capacity. Partly in view of the risks that are involved in a project of this size and nature, bundling strengths is a logical step. Both firms are involved in similar projects the world over. But Europe is their home market. The fact that this project is taking place in the Netherlands gives it an extra dimension. It provides more opportunities to train personnel, for example.

The road to the best price/quality ratio

Tendering is like shopping: you need to keep looking until you find exactly what you were looking for. And at the best possible price/quality ratio. A port expansion is no different. During a tender procedure, the client invites a number of companies to make a bid. In the case of large, complex assignments, the tender procedure takes several years. The company that manages to make the most attractive bid in terms of quality and financial details, ultimately lands the contract.

The winners

Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. is an international company with a leading position in the global market for dredging services. Boskalis is mainly involved in the construction and maintenance of port basins and waterways, land reclamation projects and the protection of coastlines and riverbanks. It handles everything from the expansion of Port Phillip in Melbourne, Australia to the construction of the dredge spoil depot in the Hollandsch Diep river.

Dredging is also the core business of Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors B.V. The construction of land in water, the protection of coastlines and the expansion and maintenance of ports and waterways are the firm's most conspicuous activities. Van Oord occupies a leading position in the global dredging market. Well-known Van Oord projects are the spraying on of the Palm Islands in Dubai and the development of the IJburg residential neighbourhood in Amsterdam.

PUMA, Projectorganisatie Uitbreiding Maasvlakte (Project Organisation for the Expansion of the Maasvlakte), is a joint venture of the dredging firms Boskalis and Van Oord. Between 2008 and 2013, PUMA will be realising the first phase of Maasvlakte 2 on behalf of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

Scope of the contract

PUMA's contract for the realisation of the first phase of Maasvlakte 2 covers the design and construction of:

  • A 3.5-km hard seawall made of rocks and concrete blocks
  • A 7.5-km soft seawall with beach and dunes
  • The first approximately 700 ha of allocatable sites
  • Over 3.5 km of deepsea quay (depth: 20 m)
  • 1 km quay (depth: 11 to 13 m) for inland shipping and small seagoing vessels
  • Dredging the port basins to the correct depth
  • 13 km of roads (two dual carriageways and two secondary roads)
  • 14 km of rail track (double track)

The contract also stipulates that after completing the Maasvlakte 2 seawall, PUMA will be responsible for its maintenance for a period of five years. The contract involves a total sum of over EUR 1 billion.