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Out-of-the-box solutions: New horizons begin with winning tenders

At Boskalis, everyone works in teams, because it’s good teamwork that leads to success. At the same time, individual roles are often more multi-facetted than might be assumed, as illustrated by the innovative development of the construction methodology for the Port of Duqm in Oman.

Tender Manager Sander Vlug was responsible for the tender, reporting directly to the Business Unit Manager. The tender team primarily consisted of people from the Boskalis tender and engineering department. They were supported by the Dry Earth Moving and Mining division as well as by Cofra for soil improvement techniques, construction partner Besix, and sub-contractors and suppliers in the Netherlands and the Middle East. Sander’s task was to coordinate and manage the technical and commercial aspects of the tender. “The first main focus on the Duqm project was to win the bid in competition with about eight other companies,” he says. “You always have to compete on price. The challenge is how to be innovative and clever about how you achieve the best price.” The role of Tender Manager is similar to Project Manager, Sander explains, requiring attention to all aspects of the project, from strategy and cooperation with construction partners, to engineering and construction decisions. “My previous experience in the Middle East was helpful in understanding local rules and regulations and identifying appropriate sub-contractors and partners. And of course we were invited by the client to an on-site visit and information session.”

The first main focus on the Duqm project was to win the bid

The winning strategy proposed by Sander and the Business Unit was based first and foremost on the client need, together with out-of-the-box thinking and cooperation with everyone involved. “We came up with a solution that combined deepening the port basin with the dry construction of the quay wall and two berthing islands.” A perimeter bund was constructed to drain the area, excavate it to around 21 metres below sea-level and carry out dry installation, rather than using floating equipment for a marine installation. The area was then reflooded and the adjacent area dredged. “This was a unique project for Boskalis,” says Sander. “We reduced costs and met the client’s deadline, while achieving higher levels of accuracy compared to marine construction. A win-win situation. I think what makes this possible at Boskalis is the willingness of everyone on the team to go the extra mile to make things happen.