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Expert mission and optimisation study on the performances of the trailing suction hopper dredger Samuel De Chapmlain


In France, the government is responsible for maintaining the access to the ports. These maintenance works are done by means of the dredging equipment of DRAGAGES-PORTS, an Economic Interest Group (GIE : Groupement d’Intérêt Économique) established between the French Government and the French maritime Autonomous Ports. This group was created in 1979 between the Government, the French autonomous ports and the ports of national interest and had as main objective the acquisition and management of the dredging equipment plant. The GIE Dragages-Ports is owner of this dredging equipment and rents out this equipment to the different autonomous ports and ports of national interest that take care of the manning.

The trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) Samuel de Champlain (delivered in the last trimester of 2002) was at that time the newest and most important TSHD of the fleet managed by Dragages-Ports. The ship has a hopper of   
8736 m³ and can carry a load of 11000 t of dredged material. It is equipped with the most modern electronics to steer the dredging and navigation equipment.

Nevertheless, it was observed in 2003 and 2004, that the TSHD could not achieve its theoretical performance goals. That's why, in 2005, IMDC was asked by Dragages-Ports to perform an expert mission on the TSHD. The main objectives of this mission were to analyse thoroughly the exploitation methods and the real performance, and to determine whether or not and by which means these performances could be improved.

During this study, IMDC explored three performance domains :

  • The technical performance : the performance of the ship and the dredging equipment in particular ;
  • The operational performance : the  performance of the TSHD in the specific dredging zones that are assigned to her ;
  • The organizational performance : the efficiency in maintenance of this equipment and daily operations.

The study was done in 4 phases :

  • Phase 1 : expert judgement on real performances, identification of insufficiencies in performance and investigation of the main causes.
  • Phase 2 : identification of actions to take to improve performance and evaluation of (dis)advantages to expect after the proposed measures will be applied.  
  • Phase 3 : evaluation of the means necessary to adopt the withheld action programme ; suggestions on how to follow-up and evaluate the efficiency of the proposed actions. 
  • Phase 4 : drawing up the tender specifications for launching the withheld actions.

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