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  • Waterfront structures

    Waterfront structures

    Harbors, quay walls, locks, berthing areas, wharves, breakwaters, cofferdams, flood protection walls more

This first category of applications is also the one requiring a large volume of steel materials, as steel is a renowned building material. In this category the following applications can be defined:

Quay walls

Quays commonly consist of a fixed platform, either closed off by quay wall or as open deck on piles. Commercial ports may have interim storage areas, since the typical objective of a quay is to unload and reload vessels as quickly as possible. As the world’s economy becomes more integrated, the need for larger container vessels and ever increasing port capacity becomes more and more evident.

The huge Post-Panamax container vessels require deeper draft and more berth space than their smaller predecessors. Large capacity sheet piles are the tools needed to construct the modern facilities necessary to attract these ships that are so vital to the economic health of the port.

The HZM and tubular combined wall systems offer hundreds of combinations in a wide variety of steel grades for the designer to choose from. In addition to the large combined wall systems, the  range of sheet piles offers the widest range of strength and best strength-to-weight ratio of any sheet piles in the world. 



Jetties can be found where docks are given sloping sides. Jetties are generally carried across the slope, at the ends of which vessels can lie in deep water. Pile work jetties are also constructed in the water outside the entrances to docks on each side, so as to form an enlarging trumpet-shaped channel between the entrance, lock or tidal basin and the approach channel, in order to guide vessels in entering or leaving the docks.

The range of tubes we provide are an important material needed for jetties. The tubes have both a structural and foundation function in a jetties’ structure. This type of construction is often used for oil and gas berthing facilities. The installation of such an of berth facility has less execution uncertainties  than quay walls but it cannot be applied for all type of berths.

Dike reinforcements

Due to climate changes combined with settlements and/or rise of (sea) water levels, existing dikes or levees often need to be reinforced in order to guarantee the same or even higher safety standard. By applying sheet piles either the crest or the toe of the dike can be reinforced so that the stability of the total structure is increased.

Flood walls

Flood walls are a primarily vertical artificial barrier designed to temporarily contain the waters of a river or other waterway which may rise to unusual levels during seasonal or extreme weather events. Flood walls are mainly used on locations where space is scarce, such as cities or where building levees or dikes would interfere with other interests, such as existing buildings, historical architecture or commercial use of embankments.

Flood walls often have floodgates which are large openings to provide passage except during periods of flooding, when they are closed. As a flood wall mostly consists of relatively short elements compared to dikes, the connections between the elements are critical to prevent the failure of the flood wall.

The substantial costs of flood walls can be justified by the value of commercial property thus protected from damage caused by flooding.


Dolphins are marine structures that extend above the water level and are not connected to shore. They are usually installed to provide a fixed structure when it would be impractical to extend the shore to provide a dry access facility, for example, when ships (or the number of ships expected) are greater than the length of the berth.

Typical uses include extending a berth (a berthing dolphin) or providing a point to moor to (a mooring dolphin). Dolphins are also used to display regulatory information like speed limits etc., other information like advertising or directions and navigation information like a day beacon as well as ranges and lighted aids to navigation.

Mooring dolphins can also be used to "cushion" ship impacts, somewhat similar to fenders. The structures typically consist of a number of tubular steel piles driven into the seabed or riverbed and connected above the water level to provide a platform or fixing point. Larger dolphins would typically be fixed using a reinforced concrete capping or a structural steel frame. Access to a dolphin may be via a pedestrian bridge (mooring dolphins) but is usually by boat


Breakwaters, also called bulkheads, reduce the intensity of wave action in inshore waters and thereby reduce coastal erosion or provide safe anchorage.

Breakwaters may also be small structures designed to protect a gently sloping beach and placed one to three hundred feet offshore in relatively shallow water. Artificial harbours can be created with the help of breakwaters. Some natural harbours, have been enhanced or extended by breakwaters made of rock. 

Our steel foundation and retaining system expertise to this application, providing commercial, governmental, and residential land owners with cost-effective solutions to weather these storms and preserve the land and homes from devastation.