JV SGS – SBE Key to Assure Quality in Construction of Belgian Sea Lock
By Jacob Puthenparambil
Deurganckdoksluis NV, established by Vlaamse Havens NV together with the Antwerp Port Authority, has contracted SGS Belgium/INTRON along with its partner SBE to provide quality assurance for the construction of lock gates and bridges for a new sea lock at the Port of Antwerp between the Deurganckdock and the Waasland canal. The five-year agreement dated July 12, 2012, entrusts JV SGS-SBE, in cooperation with a technical team of the Flemish government, to develop a tailored quality assurance system to include a procedures manual and protocols for material and construction inspections of foreign-produced components.
JV SGS – SBE to Assist in Developing the Port of Antwerp
The project, which started in October of 2011, is currently the largest infrastructure works in Flanders. Although the new lock is to have the same 500 meters long and 68 meters wide dimensions as the Berendrecht lock, the draught will be deeper making it the largest sea lock in the world.
The Port of Antwerp development project, which will require 740,000 cubic meters of concrete, 12,000 tons of steel and 55,000 tons of reinforcement steel for the fabrication of four lock gates and two bridges, is scheduled for completion within 53 months. This undertaking of paramount proportion will ensure that Waasland Port, the dock area on the left bank of the Scheldt, is built to fulfill a major role in the development of the Port of Antwerp.
The construction of the new lock is necessary to improve maritime access to the economic hub of the Port of Antwerp and the new lock will help to further develop efficient, multimodal and sustainable goods transport, which will benefit not only the Port of Antwerp and Flanders but also Europe. Furthermore, the Port of Antwerp is also a major hub of the EU’s new core network of transport, the backbone of the TEN-T network.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission recognize the importance of the Trans-European Transport Network in order to promote sustainable transport, job creation, economic growth and cohesion in the European Union.
JV SGS – SBE Locks It Up as the Best Choice in Belgium
Because the majority of the steel fabrication of lock gates and bridges is to be conducted in Asia, the Flemish government searched for an independent partner to manage the quality assurance and inspections of foreign-produced components in order to verify compliance with current Flemish and European standards and regulations.
It was of top priority that quality and reliability of equipment were ensured in the earliest stages. After careful and thoughtful examination of the world’s leading providers, Flemish officials were extremely impressed with JV SGS – SBE outstanding expertise and vast experience as well as recent SGS involvement in the inspection of the lock gates at the Panama Canal. In addition, the SGS global network and ability to deploy resources worldwide made it perfectly clear that SGS was the best choice to assist in the successful completion of this distinguished Belgian project. Officials also recognized the importance of autonomous SGS inspection, verification, testing and certification in building confidence and protecting investment.
JV SGS – SBE – SBE Expert Quality Assurance
In the Port of Antwerp development project, JV SGS – SBE quality assurance experts are solely responsible for producing the procedures manual, determining training requirements, overseeing quality control inspections and conducting audits.
A quality control procedures manual created by JV SGS – SBE specialists and specifically tailored for this project will define rigid rules in accordance with international regulations and standards to be followed by manufacturers, constructors, inspectors and trainers. JV SGS – SBE professionals will develop training programs needed to prepare, test and certify new in-house inspectors and periodic supplemental trainings to further educate and preserve the high level of all inspectors at the Deurganckdocklock.
In addition to road-mapping the project with a quality assurance procedures manual and training programs, on-site JV SGS – SBE inspectors will perform quality control examinations and audits of all manufactured components to be included in the construction of the lock gates and bridges.
With this comprehensive strategy, SGS quality assurance will ensure that materials, products, machinery, equipment and industrial facilities are manufactured and maintained in compliance with all specified and mandatory requirements, contractual specifications and quality standards. SGS quality assurance services will guarantee safe and reliable facilities, provide Belgian officials with the certainty that structures, components, materials and systems meet prescribed quality standards and satisfactorily perform throughout the duration of implementation and substantially increase the value of assets.