ShibataFenderTeam supplies 43 Cone Fender Systems for the expansion of Freeport in Texas, USA

About 60 miles from downtown Houston, Texas, Freeport is one of the most accessible ports on the US Gulf Coast and one of the fastest growing in the area.

Currently, it is undergoing expansion works that will open the state to even larger vessels. In this phase of the project, berth seven of the Velasco Terminal is being refurbished to make it the deepest container terminal in the Gulf of Texas and a new berth is being built, number eight, to gain additional terminal length to accommodate vessels from Panamax to Post-Panamax class.

Working in cooperation with McCarthy Building Companies and the engineering company Moffatt and Nichol, we designed and manufactured 43 sets of SPC Cone Fenders Systems, each consisting of one Cone Fender (SPC 1400 G2.4) and a closed box panel (2300x5450 mm) with UHMW-PE pads. Of these 43 systems, 27 were installed at berth eight and the other 16 at berth number seven. The order scope also included 29 T Head Bollards (150 t).

The project’s particularity was twofold. On the one hand, when a new berth is built next to an existing one, every effort is made to have the same fender design on both berths as that makes maintenance, spare parts purchasing and the interchangeability of fender system along both berths easier. On the other hand, there was the challenge that the berthing line of berth seven was not straight, which posed additional design demand.

In a first step, the old fenders of berth seven were removed and then, our in-house engineering team proposed a customized solution to compensate for the variations in the quay wall: they added steel spacers, each in different heights, to be installed to each of the berth seven fenders.

Now, existing berth seven and new berth eight operate with basically the same fender system and have an even berthing line to safely accommodate larger vessels.

This is another example of SFT’s Holistic Approach to fender system design, considering project conditions, as in this case operational requirements, all the system components, and their manufacturing process. And a great example of a partnership with a client and designer open to changes and keen on listening to fender experts.