MWH Joint Venture Wins Port Contract Extension

MWH, a global provider of environmental engineering and construction services, and its joint venture partner, Keppel Seghers, has won a contract extension to oversee the construction of a mechanical dewatering plant at the Port of Antwerp.

The plant, scheduled for completion in October 2010, will treat 600,000 tons dry matter (sediment) each year and will allow the Port of Antwerp, one of Europe's main cargo gateways, to remain open and safe for large vessels.

Since inception in 2003, MWH and its JV partner, Keppel Seghers, have worked on the design-build-operate project, valued at approximately $480 million. It is considered one of the largest and most innovative sediment treatment projects in the world, according to a Nov. 11 press release.

"The Port of Antwerp is keen to take advantage of MWH and Keppel Seghers' sediment dewatering process know-how," said Joris Dockx, project director of the client Flemish Government Administration, Department of Mobility and Public Works, Maritime Access (Belgium). "This expertise is key to optimizing the start-up process for the new plant."

"In cooperation with our joint venture partner, MWH identified the most economic and sustainable solution for the treatment of the harbor sediment," said Jos Vandekeybus, manager of Environmental Services for MWH's northern European operations. "Most importantly, this innovative approach to the dewatering process at the Port of Antwerp is directly transferable to other engineering challenges, in particular tailing disposal for the mining sector."

The joint venture solution involves the separation, conditioning, and dewatering of the port sediment using horizontal membrane chamber filter presses. The team will oversee quality control on-site, review the contractor's engineering, assist in start-up, and be responsible for general site supervision.

"This is a showcase project both in terms of the engineering involved and from the sustainability viewpoint. Based on this expertise, we are already involved in the process evaluation of a river sediment remediation project in the United States," said Alan J. Krause, president and chief operating officer of MWH.