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Mina Jebel Ali ærial photograph - January 1980

Construction of the new deep water port of Mina Jebel Ali, commenced in 1977, was undertaken by several consortia of UK/European contractors, the major civil works — including extensive quay wall construction and dredging & reclamation — being designed and their construction supervised by British consulting engineers Halcrow (now part of ch2m).

Mina Jebel Ali in January 1980, just prior to flooding of the inner basin

Quay Structures

Quay :3, Mina Jebel Ali

Completed blockwork at Quay 3 (14m depth). The basin was dredged to final depth after flooding.

The greater part of the new quay walls, in excess of 16km in total, was constructed in mass concrete blockwork.

Capping beams were of reinforced composite precast/insitu construction.

Backfill included compacted sandstone, pumped in as spoil from the inshore dredging, and used to raise levels generally in the port area.

While this type of wall can be placed underwater, the Jebel Ali quays were constructed wholly in dry excavation, the two enormous basins — of 11.5m and 14m depth respectively — being flooded on completion.

Quay 9, Mina Jebel Ali

Block placing at Quay 9 (11.5m depth). The end of the tubular pile wall construction is just visible in the background.

Mass concrete blocks, each weighing up to 44t, were produced in a central casting yard, and subsequently placed by Manitowoc 4600 crawler-mounted cranes.

These machines, of which two were in service on the project, were equipped with uprated engine cooling systems, to cope with the onerous duty cycle and searing Gulf temperatures.

Dredging & Reclamation

Al Wassl Bay dredging in the Jebel Ali approach channel

Self-Elevating Offshore Dredger Al Wassl Bay at work in the approach channel, loading to a self-positioning spoil barge.

Andrew Sadleir was closely involved in the Mina Jebel Ali project for over 3 years: at first in preparation of quay wall designs in Halcrow's London office; then as a member of the site supervision team on quay wall construction; transferring finally to the supervision of offshore dredging (including commissioning trials of the new dredger Al Wassl Bay), alongside the field work, associated instrumentation maintenance, and reporting for the coastal survey and data collection programme.

Mina Jebel Ali Port Control Tower

As the Dubai Port Authority's Jebel Ali Terminal, the Port has since become a cornerstone of the United Arab Emirates' and the region's economies, and home to the Jebel Ali Free Zone.

flag: United Arab Emirates

Mina Jebel Ali, Dubai, UAE