London’s River Thames will carry increasing quantities of building materials through the launch of an innovative self-propelled work barge and its sister vessel, according to their operator and owner.
Scheldemond I & II, now operating on the river to serve central London’s civil engineering contractors, are a collaboration between London-based the Levett’s Group and Belgium’s Herbosch-Kiere.
At ‘Better by water’, an event on 21 July, the companies stressed how the vessels could shift construction materials off roads and onto the Thames.
Unlike most work barges on the river, which require a tug, the 32.5 m self-propelled Scheldemond I connects with the Scheldemond II to create a 54×7 m mobile work platform featuring a hydraulic wheelhouse, which lowers to fit under low bridges, according to the companies.
A high-capacity 10-tonne crane on a track running across both vessels provides flexibility in lifting vehicles and goods.
Scheldemond I is also the only self-powered work platform with hydraulic self-operating spud legs working anywhere on the Thames, said the companies.
The Levett’s Group and Herbosch-Kiere see applications for Scheldemond I & II not only in water and riverside engineering and construction but also in diving, surveys, and bridge inspection as well as film production and events.
Use of the Thames for transport has more than trebled in the last five years to what the Port of London Authority tallies at more than 5 million tonnes last year, replacing 265,000 lorry journeys, said the companies at the event.