Ports and maritime facilities are massive and complex installations. Much like in a major city, terminal owners and operators routinely deal with aging infrastructure developed during and after World War II, including buildings, road/rail transportation, water, sewer and power utilities. As the strains of the past year illuminated our need for efficient and resilient operations to keep pace with commerce, the maritime community is looking to invest significantly in upgrades and modernization improvements at its sites.

Whether a facility needs upgrades to emphasize road-to-rail intermodal transportation, electrified overhead container handling cranes and more, the design-build project delivery approach offers myriad benefits for both the public and private space.

Streamline accountability — The design-build model offers a single point of contact and responsibility, reducing the management and administrative burdens on project owners. By maximizing the integration of the design, procurement, construction, startup and commissioning phases on port and maritime projects, design-build delivery supports project success without added resource stress for the client.

Manage schedule, cost and risk From prequalification through procurement to project execution, the inherent collaboration of an integrated design-build team provides owners with transparent and proactive communication to identify and overcome challenges quickly. The integration of data and technology helps keep every aspect of the project on track.

Increase flexibility — By taking a holistic view of the project, a design-build team can minimize scope gaps for multifaceted port and maritime projects. This allows the integrated team to discover and address potential obstacles early in the project and coordinate with adjacent ongoing operations, helping to reduce disruption to active sites.

Though design-build may not fit every circumstance for port and maritime projects, the benefits are difficult to ignore. With design, procurement and construction resources all residing in-house, the fully integrated team can provide clients with a single point of responsibility. This creates a focus on results while optimizing quality and reducing waste.

The transition to design-build is certainly an evolution for the port and maritime industry. With a vast array of critical projects floating on the horizon, an effective solution like design-build could prove essential in the years ahead.

 

Rapid growth at ports and maritime facilities demands sustainable and resilient solutions. Learn how to harness design-build capabilities and flexible contracting options to upgrade critical infrastructure.

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Eric Venable is the director of ports and maritime at Burns & McDonnell and has 25 years of experience managing the design and construction of various types of maritime transportation projects and industrial facilities. He organizes strategic marketing and business development initiatives, monitors programmatic operational procedures, and participates in major contract negotiations for private and public maritime clients.