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Port Tanger Méditerranée is a wholly new deepwater port, strategically located on the Strait of Gibraltar, and forms the centrepiece of a major regional development in transport infrastructure now under way in northern Morocco. Primary civil works — breakwaters, dredging, quay walls and platform earthworks — have been managed by the Moroccan Government's Agence Spéciale Tanger Méditerranée (TMSA), to a design by UK consulting engineers Halcrow (now part of CH2M).

The first major user to commence operations in the Port was APM Terminals (APMT), part of the giant APMøller-Mærsk group, with a 30‑year concession on a 40ha site for a new 1.3 million TEU/annum container terminal, including 800m of quay affording a depth alongside of up to 18m.


Under the concession agreement, APMT was given access for an overview of construction progress and standards; and Sadleir was therefore appointed by Royal Haskoning, APMT's consultants for the terminal construction, to monitor TMSA's contractors' progress, and technical supervision QA procedures on site, during the crucial period leading up to first-stage handover in May 2006.

Sadleir also worked closely with APMT's Danish civil engineering consultants, ARCCON a/s.

Platform filling & compaction at Container Terminal № 1

A major element of the civil works — and a prime concern of Sadleir's monitoring remit — was the forming of the container yard platform, which included substantial depths of engineered fill over alluvial substrates. Container handling plant typically requires yard areas laid to close level tolerances, and any long-term distortions arising from substrate consolidation settlement can thus be highly problematic.

A tandem vibro-compaction rig at work

In addition to the "conventionally-placed" backfill, substantial volumes of the platform were formed with hydraulically-placed (dredged) sand. This was post-treated in situ by vibro-compaction, a consolidative process which can also substantially reduce susceptibility of a granular fill to liquefaction failure under seismic loading.

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one of many thousands of in situ density tests made on compacted fill
using the balloon apparatus

Effective monitoring entailed liaison at all levels with TMSA's supervisory staff and with their several contractors and sub-contractors on the ground, thereby providing concessionaire APMT with independent first-hand assessments of quality control and programme parameters. At the same time, TMSA staff were kept informed as to the Concessionaire's priority concerns, in respect of construction details or programme.

Such communication relied upon the establishment of cooperative working relationships with supervising engineers, site technicians, contractors' agents, earthworks charge-hands, project laboratory staff and sub-contract site investigation teams.

The concrete blockwork quay wall, here complete to just above the low water mark.

For the latter part of his assignment, Sadleir served additionally as Acting Resident Engineer on commencement of APMT's own container terminal construction contract (awarded to a Moroccan tripartite joint venture), pending mobilisation of Haskoning's full-time supervision team.

The 397m long, 11,000 TEU container ship EVELYN MÆRSK berthed at the Terminal à Conteneurs № 1, Port Tanger Méditerranée on 27th July 2007; and the Terminal was officially opened that same afternoon by HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

drapeau: Royaume du Maroc

Port Tanger Méditerranée, Morocco