Big berthing at Isle of Grain jetties

A night docking operation at the Isle of Grain. A night docking operation at the Isle of Grain.

As vessel sizes steadily increase, so too do the pressures exerted on port infrastructure.

However, a recent report indicates that many commercial ports don’t have adequate infrastructure in place to manage the increase in vessel sizes coming through their terminals. For the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) sector, in particular, port downtime is an absolute premium, meaning that replacing outdated systems can be problematic.

A best practice example of industry working to pro-actively tackle potential issues is when Trelleborg Marine Systems was contracted by Volker Construction International to supply several docking, mooring and fendering products for the upgrade of jetty ten and the construction of a new jetty at the National Grid LNG terminal on the Isle of Grain UK. Trelleborg also worked with the main contractor, Chicago Bridge and Iron (CB&I) to supply monitoring instrumentation for the project. 

The objective for the upgrade of jetties eight and ten at Isle of Grain was to enable the new breed of large LNG vessels to berth and discharge or load contents to and from the facility, thus improving the production rate at the plant. The terminal can now facilitate LNG carriers with a capacity of up to 266,000m³ and jetty eight is capable of accommodating the world’s largest LNG ship, the Q-Max vessel.

The docking and mooring products supplied by Trelleborg included125 tonne double quick release hooks, 150 tonne triple quick release hooks, 150 tonne quadruple quick release kooks, SmartHook load monitoring systems, SmartDock docking aid systems and a central integrated monitoring system.

Trelleborg also supplied five SCN 2000 super cone fenders, the largest model it supplies, with a height of 2m. Super cone fenders are known for their excellent energy capacity and low reaction force. The combination of these two factors is claimed to provide the most efficient performance of any fender type. The conical shape means it maintains stability under all combinations of axial, shear and angular loading.

The work carried out on these two jetties was part of a multi-million pound scheme to upgrade and expand the existing terminal and storage facility.

The work on jetty ten involved the construction of a new deep water jetty into the River Medway, allowing LNG tankers to dock and unload. This jetty consists of a long approach trestle for the maintenance roadway and the LNG pipelines, from the shallow areas, to deep water. Also required was a jetty platform for the unloading of the liquid gas and eight dolphin piles of 3.5m in diameter for berthing and mooring. These dolphin piles were required with a length of up to 45m, and weigh up to 140 tonnes each.

The work on jetty eight included the demolition of the existing jetty and the design and construction of a replacement, including the approach trestles, jetty head and the mooring and breasting dolphins. The design and build of this jetty is similar to that of jetty ten, but with some improvements. It consists of an approach trestle for the maintenance roadway and LNG pipelines, a platform for the unloading of the LNG and eight dolphin piles for berthing and mooring. Both jetties were also connected by a steel walkway.

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