Port & channel design studies
General information
The design of port and/or an approach channel encompasses a number of disciplines including ship handling and maritime engineering in order to design waterways to a desired level of navigability and safety. This requires the assessment of a number of key elements, including vessel size and behaviour, human factors in ship handling and effects of the physical environment.

Designing the port's waterways involves designing the layout and dimensions of a port's main water area with reference to:

  • the alignment and width of approach channels and port entrances,
  • the depth of approach channels,
  • the size and shape of manoeuvring spaces within the port, with particular reference to the stopping and swinging areas
Services & Activities
MSCN performs detailed design studies with the emphasis on complex realistic simulation environments. By using MSCN's fast time simulations and/or real time simulations MSCN can assess and validate the concept design study based on safety criteria with regard to the key elements. In addition the design can be assessed on risks with regard to the complete traffic intensity.

Real time simulations are necessary to include the human factor in the study. Human factors can be visual factors, communications with tugs, etc. Prior to real time simulations often fast time simulations are performed to limit the amount of necessary environmental conditions, which saves time and costs. Only the doubtful conditions (autopilot versus human operation) will be performed in the real time simulations. The real time simulations is preferably performed by local pilots and/or captains to include local experience. If tugs play a crucial role in the manoeuvres, it is advised to let tug masters participate in the study.

Other than the manoeuvring capability studies, the emphasis of the port & channel design study lies on the effects of the physical environment.

Facilities & Tools
Port & channel design studies are carried out using:

Software Sales
Some software tools are available for commercial use outside MARIN. A complete overview of these software tools for sale can be found under Sales.

The list below gives a review of Port and Waterway design projects carried out at MARIN.
Or download the complete list.

  • 2005/2006, Gate LNG - Terminal design optimisation and verification with the aid of fast-time and real-time simulations
  • 2005, Liongas - Terminal design optimisation and verification with the aid of fast-time simulations
  • 2004, Visakhapatnam - Evaluation of the adequacy of the turning areas and determination of the required channel width and depth.
  • 2000/2005, Maasvlakte 2 - Various verification studies on the Maasvlakte 2 design in various phases of its future construction.
  • 2000, Carmel Port and Revised Kishon Approach - Evaluation of the adequacy of the approach, entrance and turning areas for various vessel types.
Most recent papers on Port & channel design presented by MARIN
(complete overview of papers can be found under Publications)

  • Simulation for Port Design and Layout, Bovens, N.L.A.Port Technology International
  • The Quest for Safety – The Harbour Master’s Manifold Fields of Action, Bovens, N.L.A. International Harbour Master’s Association, 3rd Biennial Congress, Cape Town May 2002
Most recent articles on Port & channel design written for MARIN Report
(complete overview of articles can be found under Publications)

For more information on how MARIN can help your organisation with the issue of Port and waterway design, please contact the MSCN department.

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