Impressive backhoe dredger to shift hard material

Impressive backhoe dredger to shift hard material

The towering spuds of a hired backhoe dredge will be visible at Eastland Port this week as maintenance dredging in front of wharf 7 and 8, and in the navigation channel, begins.

The 32m high spuds, or anchors, are part of a GPK backhoe dredge hired from Heron Construction.

The dredging will begin on Wednesday 6 December 2017 in order to re-establish the normal depth of 10.5m in front of wharf 7 and 8.

The maintenance dredging is in accordance with existing Gisborne District Council resource consents.

Backhoe dredgers are stationary, with a hydraulic excavator installed on a pontoon. Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum says they can dredge a wide range of materials very precisely, and operate well in shallow and enclosed waters.

“The dredge is being used to clear away hard material such as papa rock and mudstone which has built up and created high spots in front of the wharves where the biggest ships berth.”

The port’s suction hopper dredge Pukunui will take dredged material to the port’s normal disposal site 3.7km from the end of the channel out in Poverty Bay.

The maintenance dredging campaign is expected to last for four days, and will include dredging in the navigational channel.  Approximately 4,500 thousand cubic tonnes of dredged sediment will be removed from the areas.

Regular dredging happens every week at Eastland Port as sediment regularly builds up causing a reduction in depths that can hamper day-to-day port operations.

Meanwhile, wood continues to flow across the wharves at Eastland Port fueled by demand from overseas buyers and stable prices. This November 263,050 tonnes of wood was loaded onto 11 log vessels.

Image: Kevin Weatherley