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Unearthing the future

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The DEME Group can look back on nearly 150 years of experience in its core dredging and land reclamation activities and hydraulic engineering. The company has executed major works of marine engineering infrastructure such as new ports, waterways, airports, artificial islands, residential and recreational areas, industrial areas, roads, bridges and the like on all continents.

“Our three biggest competitors come from the Benelux region – Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – and together, we four companies have 80% of the market share,” states Mr. Verboomen, managing director of the DEME Group’s Technical Department and general director of Baggerwerken Decloedt en Zoon N.V., a member company of the DEME Group. Its stable positioning within its field allows the dredging expert to contract and complete important, large-scale projects around the world.

“We have been involved in the capital and maintenance dredging of the Scheldt River in Antwerp since 1930. Our work helps the government meet its guaranteed minimum sea floor depth for seafaring vessels. For the last 25 years, the sand coming from the dredging has been used for the hydraulic reclamation of the polder areas, low-lying tracts of land enclosed by dikes, to create additional industrial areas on the river’s banks and to construct embankments and highway foundations,” explains Mr. Verboomen.

From 2000 to 2001, Baggerwerken Decloedt completed a land reclamation project near Paradip, India, for the Indian Oil Corporation. “The project created land for the construction of a crude oil refinery. Sand was dredged from the bed of Jatadharmohan Creek at a distance varying from 5 to 12 km at the refinery site. The creek was deepened up to 10 m below the existing bed level, and the volume of dredging was about 19,000,000 m3.” says Mr. Verboomen.

DEME and Baggerwerken Decloedt are driven by innovation. Recently the DEME Group invested 100 million EUR in ten specially designed production ships. Thanks to innovations in nautical technology, these ships are piloted by only one person, which allows staff to be allocated to other project-related duties.

“The production ships have extremely strong pumps that suck the sand from the sea floor and spit it into pipelines for transportation to other locations or to a holding area to be repurposed later,” explains Mr. Verboomen. The company is also acquiring support vessels to work with the larger dredging ships.

Headquartered in Belgium, DEME has a largely international client base, which represents almost 90% of its business dealings. The company has customers on almost every continent with some of its most active markets being Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom in Europe, South America, Africa, Russia, China and the Middle East. Australia is a boosting market where DEME recently was awarded a 916 million EUR contract to dredge the approach channel, the manoeuvring area and the berths for the new Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project of Chevron along the northwestern coast of Australia.

About 50% of the dredging specialist’s clientele is made up of governmental authorities. The remaining business comes from oil, gas and wind utility companies. The DEME Group’s turnover for 2011 was 1.766 billion EUR, and Baggerwerken Decloedt on its own reported a 2011 turnover of 300 million EUR. The dredging company employs 400 of the DEME Group’s total 4,200 employees.

“Our workers are highly skilled. Around 30% of our staff is engineers. When examining market indicators, signs point to continued growth within the industry,” states Mr. Verboomen. With its modern dredging fleet, experienced and talented staff, and multinational clients, Baggerwerken Decloedt can adhere to its 150-yearold mission of “creating land for the future.”

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