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Impressive portfolio of artificial islands

  • 110 million cubic metres of sand dredged
  • 700 hectares of new land
  • 11 kilometres breakwater

Dubai is aiming to attract 20 million visitors annually by 2020. This is a strategy to which Van Oord has been contributing since 2001 by building Palm Jumeirah, The World and many other artificial islands. The remarkable, world-renowned megaproject Palm Jumeirah was Van Oord’s first showpiece in Dubai. The Dubai Harbour project is Van Oord’s current project and that will help it to achieve Dubai’s target by ensuring that the new cruise terminal can handle enormous cruise liners.

Proud builder of the Palm

Project developer Nakheel wished to develop a world-class tourist venue in Dubai. It started with Palm Jumeirah, an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree, with businesses, hotels, villas and leisure facilities set along splendid beaches. In terms of size (700 ha of reclaimed land), concept and engineering, the palm-shaped island was the most ambitious project of all time. Palm Jumeirah consists of a 2 km trunk and 17 palm leaves that now feature luxury villas and private beaches. Van Oord has left its mark on the world with this megaproject.

Trusted partner

In recognition of its earlier achievement, Van Oord was also awarded the contract to construct The World, an archipelago of more than 300 artificial islands in the shape of a map of the world. The construction of two other artificial islands, Island 2 and Bluewaters Island, was carried out under a contract awarded by Meraas Development LLC. Both islands were linked to the mainland by a bridge and were completed in early 2014. The award of this contract is proof of the trust placed in us by our partners and clients in Dubai.

I’m proud to be part of the realisation of Dubai’s transformation. It’s fascinating to see how Dubai is moving forward with every new coastal development plan.

Jan Willem Elleswijk, Area Manager
Jan Willem Elleswijk, Area Manager

Minimal impact on public areas

One of the impressive projects, Bluewaters Island, is the home of several resorts and an amusement park. The biggest attraction is the impressive 210-metre-high Dubai Eye Ferris wheel. The environmental standards for turbidity, dust and noise were very strict during execution.

We had to use our Marine ingenuity to find a smart and solid solution. During the construction phase, environmental measures were taken by installing a silt screen and several buoys to conduct turbidity measurements. The working method was designed in such a sophisticated manner that the impact on the environment and on public areas was minimised.

Age van Zandbergen, Project Manager Van Oord

World-class hub for tourism

The transformation of Dubai is still in progress. In 2015, Developer Nakheel appointed Van Oord to deliver the new waterfront at Deira Islands. This project is special to Van Oord because the company constructed Deira between 2005 and 2008. The scope of this assignment includes building a 23.5-km coastline and breakwaters. The work includes a 4-km stretch of waterfront, large enough to accommodate more than 500 yachts and boats.

Complex project

And the story continues. Dubai Harbour is next on the extensive track record of projects Van Oord executed in Dubai. This project is complex because of the various deliverables, such as land reclamation, quay wall construction and vibro-compaction. In terms of scheduling, the activities overlap and are interdependent. With several subcontractors, 1,300 people working on the -site, interdependent activities and a strict completion date, Van Oord is showcasing project management at the highest level.

Innovation tool on board

Our client has strict requirements for sand used to create beaches at Dubai Harbour, such as the colour and the size of the grains. Normally, after the sand is deposited, a special beach cleaner is used to remove seashells and chunks of sand. Van Oord thought of an ingenious, more efficient manner to meet the objectives. Trailing suction hopper dredger Rotterdam was fitted with a special sand sieve. By using this tool, the vessel loaded only beach-quality sand in its hopper. Although the total dredging cycle took longer, the method is more efficient: the sand no longer required any special treatment after the placement and there was no need for the beach cleaner.

Additional information
  • Start date
  • End date
  • Location
    Dubai, UAE
  • Business Unit
  • Client
    Meraas Development LLC and Nakheel