To remain competitive, port and intermodal facilities need to operate efficiently, while remaining responsive to the trends and challenges shaping global goods movement. 

WSP works with port authorities, owners, and terminal operators worldwide to ensure that their facilities and associated wharves, berths, storage yards, rail tracks, container cranes, and truck gate systems are equipped to handle increasing ship sizes and intermodal freight transfer operations. At established ports where land for expansion is scarce, modernization and densification is often the answer.

Our team of experts have consolidated marine facilities to create mega terminals that feature deeper berths and stronger wharves capable of handling the new Super-Post-Panamax ships and cranes. To increase container storage capacity, many owners reconfigure existing terminals and deploy new cargo handling equipment and technologies to densify operations. We routinely support this approach by using PRIME to design optimum storage layouts, select appropriate equipment, and design durable pavements, rails, storage structures, buildings to support today’s cargos, ship-to-shore cranes, and cargo-handling equipment.

WSP provides on-call engineering services for many world class ports, including the Ports of Charleston, Tampa, Miami, Oakland, and Portland. This contracting vehicle allows our clients to gain access to our staff and experience in a rapid time frame. We also provide services for project-specific efforts or larger program management needs.

Design and Construction

Design and construction is a method of project delivery in which the consultant and the contractor operate under a single contract with the project owner, to provide professional services. Due to the specialized nature of maritime projects, design and construction projects are often executed for port constructions, breakwaters, jetties, quay walls and terminals. These projects have become increasingly important over the years, especially in private sector markets like oil-and-gas and mining-and-minerals. WSP is proud to offer our clients industry-leading solutions and assistance, as well as design and management services in all aspects of design and construction throughout the project life-cycle.

Diving Services

WSP offers in-house, specialist commercial divers on a full-time basis. We deploy the same structural and civil engineers to undertake inspections above and below the water line, ensuring that our diving teams are exclusively positioned to offer a comprehensive survey and evaluation of all types of maritime structures within the tidal zone. By gaining this knowledge first hand, we provide continuity from production of the survey report through to design of the new construction or repair, including underwater site supervision and inspection during any follow-up site work by a contractor. We believe this gives our clients a significant advantage over the traditional method of engaging multiple, separate suppliers to undertake underwater inspections and subsequent design. Our team has worked in a wide variety of complex environments, including within operational ports and new maritime construction sites.

Our diving team has successfully completed inspections on a wide range of maritime assets. This includes harbours, ports, marinas, docks, highway and rail bridges, dolphins and jetties, fendering systems, pipes and outfalls, tunnels, culverts, in-land navigation structures including locks, weirs and sluices, as well as dams and spillways, river and canal walls, and seabed and marine habitat surveys.

Ground Investigation and Geotechnical Services

Our capability as expert Geotechnical Advisors is underpinned by an extensive range of expertise and experience in the investigation and geotechnical design for the marine environment that includes coastal defences, cliff and landslide stabilisation, quay walls, cofferdams, caissons, diaphragm walls, bored and sheet piling, offshore wind farms, sub-sea cables and pipelines, cable landings and Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD), estuary and river bridge crossings, marinas, floating pontoons and sea outfalls, navigation beacons, and immersed and sub-sea transportation and cable tunnels.

Seismic Resilient Planning and Design

In many parts of the world, port and harbours will necessarily be located in earthquake prone regions. This has significant implications for design, not just to avoid costly repairs, but also to minimize disruption to operations. Our methodology is to first evaluate performance requirements for the proposed infrastructure, and then to design for a predictable, robust response. 

When designing for earthquake resistance, port and harbour structures such as quays, piers and jetties tend to require a unique approach. We design structures that are economical, yet respond predictably and provide reliable resistance even in highly seismic regions. Our seismic design experience includes soil structure interaction, pile resistance to 'kinematic loading' from slope movements, response spectrum and time history analyses, liquefaction risk assessment, and mitigation. We also have significant experience in the design of buildings and infrastructure for earthquake resistance, enabling us to deliver seismic design requirements for the entire port development and hinterland.

Inspection and Repair of Marine Structures

With the tidal zone being such an extreme environment, marine structures need regular preventative maintenance if they are to avoid rapidly deteriorating beyond economic repair. It is therefore crucial that the type of high-value assets that are normally encountered in port and harbour facilities are periodically inspected, maintained, repaired, and refurbished as required. By undertaking regularly planned inspections and defining whole-life maintenance schedules, we have successfully enabled port owners and operators to extend the life of their assets. By scrutinizing maintenance requirements routinely and proactively, we are able to schedule repairs with minimal impact on existing berths, thereby avoiding costly downtime.

Wharf, Breakwater and Berth inspection and Design

We use state–of-art technologies to inspect and assess wharves and substructures, including steel sheet piles, tubular piles, concrete caissons, cribs, trestles and dolphins for uses that include industrials, ferries, fishing, and marinas. Our services combine the expertise of an integrated team of diving technicians, engineers, materials scientists, geomatics specialists, and hydrographic surveyors, all working together in order to collect valuable data that allows our clients to make the best decisions for moving their project forward and protecting their investments. We provide the full scope of design services for all port and terminal components, from infrastructure such as wharves, access roads and rail, pavement, utilities, and terminal/building architecture, to structural, mechanical and electrical engineering.

Bulk Material Handling and Storage Facilities

At WSP, we have extensive experience in the planning, design, operation and capacity assessment of dry and liquid bulk terminals. Our experts have worked on global projects with some of the largest bulk commodities handlers such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, FMG, Roy Hill and other players in the Oil & Gas industry. Our objective is to ensure that terminal facilities and associated landside and ship loading/unloading, cargo handling, storage and intermodal facilities are the most competitive in today’s market. Whether it is a coal export terminal in Hampton Roads, United States, or in Muchke Bay, Russia, our global staff is experienced in designing piers, cargo-handling systems, conveyors, and support facilities.