Potains in land reclamation project
Three Potain MD top-slewing tower cranes are helping to construct 18 reinforced concrete caissons that are required as part of the design and construction of the new Portier Cove eco-neighbourhood in Monaco.Started in 2016, Portier Cove is a €1.36bn plan that will see six hectares of land reclaimed from the sea, upon which 60,000 sqm of housing, an extension of the Grimaldi Forum and a coastal promenade will be built.
French company Bouygues Travaux Publics has been contracted to build the foundations of the offshore extension, including 18 reinforced concrete structures that will act as underwater struts. Known as caissons, these hollow, cylindrical chambers are being made in the Marseille-Fos Port in France before being towed to Monaco where they will be positioned and reinforced by infill.
To create the 10,000t, 26m-high structures, the contractor is renting a vast proportion of the French port, including a 10,000m2 caisson precasting zone, as well as a 32,000m2 area of water, where a floating dock is positioned. A first in France, this 56m-long, 50m-wide and 27m-tall floating dock will make it possible to assemble the caissons before they are delivered to Monaco.
It is here that three Potain top-slewing tower cranes are working over a period of 24 months: two brand new Potain MD 569s to help construct the caissons themselves and one MD 560 B for general supply of the shipyard from the harbour dock.
The two MD 569 tower cranes – erected at heights of 45m and 59m – are positioned on the water on floating platforms known as pilotis. This presented a challenge for Bouygues, as not only are the pilotis required to support the cranes when lifting heavy loads, such as 25t reinforcement cages, they also need to remain secure when battling the sea and the notoriously strong winds of the region.
The contractor worked with Manitowoc’s tower crane Lift Solutions team to find the answer. The team developed several pylon compositions specific to the site, combining different types of masts and chassis to increase the height and safety of the cranes. It also provided adapted load charts to account for piloti movement possibilities in all weather conditions.
Work on the caissons began in 2017 and is due for completion in 2019. Once complete, they will be towed to Monaco where they are run aground to form the foundations of the offshore extension. They will then be ballasted with sea water and weighted with quarry material. Each finished, construction caisson façade has been specially designed to accommodate sea flora and fauna. Once the caisson belt has been of the reclamation ground begins. The entire Portier Cove project is scheduled for completion in 2025.
Emaar to build Middle East’s biggest Chinatown in Dubai
Dubai’s leading developer said the Chinese-style urban district will occupy a central location in its 6km² mixed-use waterfront development, Dubai Creek Harbour, which will boast the Dubai Creek Tower superstructure. The retail precinct will have mix of restaurants, local and international fashion brands designed to appeal to Chinese tourists.
To further support efforts to encourage wealthy Chinese shoppers to the emirate, Emaar has opened offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to promote tourism, education, and investment in the UAE. Emaar’s announcement came on the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UAE, where he is expected to drum up support for two-way trade and investment. “The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UAE is historic and will further strengthen UAE-China relations, underpinned by initiatives such as the UAE-China Week announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai,” the chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar, said.” “The development of the new Chinese retail and lifestyle district at Dubai Creek Harbour – as well as Emaar’s expansion into China, both in property and hospitality – highlight our commitment to the country, and our focus on contributing to the strength and success of UAE-China relations,” he added. Bilateral trade between China and the UAE has gone up in recent years, rising from $46.3bn (AED170bn) in 2016 to $53.3bn (AED195bn) in 2017. And Chinese tourists are prominent visitors to Dubai as well, with recent statistics indicating a year-on-year increase in the number of travelers from China between 1 January and 31 May, 2018.” Separately, Emaar this week issued a statement following reports it may sell non-core assets worth up to $1.4bn (AED5.1bn). In response to this claim, Emaar said it was “continuously exploring various options as part of its strategy to streamline its business to generate significant value”
New Potain factory in India
Manitowoc has opened a new Potain tower crane factory in the Indian city of Chakan, which lies outside Pune, with production beginning in first-quarter 2018. This facility replaces the company’s previous factory in Pune, which opened back in 2007. With a smaller land area as well as new equipment and lean processes, Manitowoc said the new facility produces Potain MCT 85 and MC 125 cranes more efficiently.
David Semple, Manitowoc’s senior vice president for the Middle East and India, said: “We are focused on developing and executing lean strategies to improve efficiency, profitability, and value for our stakeholders. Our customers will benefit from the faster delivery times and enhanced quality of this new facility while our employees can feel proud to work at one of the most advanced tower crane factories in Asia. Potain has long been a market-leader in India and we want to ensure that continues, so opening this factory is an important step.”
With a production area of 9,760 sqm, the new factory’s manufacturing footprint has been reduced by one-third compared to its previous facility but has been designed for the same level of production output. Among the upgrades in equipment at the facility are a new paint shop and shot blasting machine cells.
The facility layout delivers other productivity improvements. Most notably, the time to transport materials from the assembly area to the finished goods yard is reduced by 68%. There are other significant savings in material transport from the steel yard, supplier yard and fabrication area.
Time savings are not limited to onsite operations either. Although still in the Pune area, the new factory sits some 45km from the old location, in the city’s industrial belt of Chakan. Being situated in Chakan offers better connectivity to national highways, speeding customer deliveries within India. In addition, the new facility is closer to Mumbai from where Potain cranes are shipped to export markets.
“The majority of cranes manufactured at this new factory will be shipped to customers in India,” said Semple. “But we will also serve neighbouring markets such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. All of our customers will benefit from the faster deliveries and enhanced quality of Potain cranes in this region.”
GCC construction contract awards rebound in 2018
The total value of contract awards in the construction and transport sectors increased in the first half of this year, rising to $32bn from $27bn in second half of 2017, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects. Despite the increase, the total for the first half of this year is still below the average of $40bn of construction and transport contract awards made on a half yearly basis since 2006, and well below the high of nearly $70bn of awards made in the first half of 2014.The strongest performing market in the first half of 2018 was the UAE with $15bn of awards followed by Saudi Arabia where there were $10bn of contracts let.While the UAE total is down slightly on the $16bn of contracts that were awarded in the second half of 2017, the total for Saudi Arabia is the strongest half since the first half of 2015 and suggest that the kingdom’s construction sector may finally be showing signs of recovery after three difficult years.The UAE has consistently been the strongest performing construction market in the region over the last five years as its more diversified economy has been better shielded from the full impact of lower oil prices.Supporting the Saudi recovery is the fact that the largest contract awards during the first half of this year have come from kingdom. The largest award is the $2.5bn award for the construction of the Mecca Gate housing development for Al-Balad al-Ameen. There were also major contract awards valued at over $1bn for building the Sharma complex on the northern Red Sea coast, and for the construction of a housing development for the National Guard.Future projects are also being tendered in the kingdom. The largest scheme is the proposed Salwa Channel that will be build close to the Qatari border. Others include the Avenues Mall in Riyadh, Ishbiliyah City Centre, and various housing complexes around the kingdom.There were no contract awards valued at over $1bn outside Saudi Arabia. The largest award outside the kingdom was the $533m deal for the construction of Aldar’s Water’s Edge residential development in the UAE.