Harbour deepening at Fremantle port

Owen R. Woodland

Fremantle Harbour, as with many established harbours around the world, is aiming to keep pace with worldwide shipping trends by catering for larger, wider and deeper-draught container vessels. It will be necessary to dredge the Inner Harbour at Fremantle to cope with these larger vessels.

A study of the impacts of proposed dredging of the Inner Harbour with regards to berth stability and deformation was undertaken. The requirement to undertake the study came about through recognition that the proposed harbour deepening has the potential to reduce the stability of the under-berth batters which form the sides of the harbour, and thus potentially affect the quay structures and port operations.

This paper describes part of the investigation into the berth stability issues at Fremantle Port which could arise as a consequence of ongoing dredging and increasingly heavily loaded wharf structures. Topics covered include the first approaches to the problem and increasing refinements, including finite element modelling, that were undertaken in an attempt to understand the potential failure mechanisms associated with ongoing dredging and the solutions recommended to allow the development to take place.