Top 7 Tips to Dredge Cheaper

Who doesn’t want to dredge a project cheaper? You will get more projects than a competitor and you will make more profit.

But they key is dredging a project cheaper. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending the least amount of money, it means finding the ideal balance between expenses and production, or in other words the lowest unit rate.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Have a look at this Knowledge Update.

Below are the top 7 ways to dredge cheaper.

1. Measure the unit rate

What you measure improves, this is a common phrase in management classes and it is true, I have experienced this myself. When you measure the unit rate yourself and your people will subconsciously think of and implement ways to improve it.

Measuring it is as easy of keeping track of the weekly production and the weekly project costs. No matter what the estimated unit rate is, you want the real unit rate to be as low as possible. Either to make more profits or reduce the losses on the project.

2. Prepare the project

A good preparation earns itself back tenfold. It shortens the time it takes to complete the project and allows you to start with a good production right from the start.

A good preparation entails knowing the soil you will encounter, having enough spares, having enough floating pipeline (Yes, I have experienced a dredging company that didn’t have ANY floating pipelines for his CSD), having the right people and much more.

3. Use the right equipment

Don’t bring a TSHD to a CSD project or vice versa. Not only will the unit rate be a lot higher, you might find you can’t even complete the project with the equipment. Bringing in another equipment is very expensive and will surely destroy your profits.

But not only the type of equipment, also the tools used onboard are very important. Using the right cutterhead and teeth for a CSD can make a major difference. For a TSHD a change in teeth can also make a difference, or perhaps you need a de-gassing installation?

4. Increase the production

Once the operation has started, increase the production with every turn. Most of the costs in dredging have a fixed weekly cost. When you increase the weekly production, you decrease the unit rate, which means you can finish the project with lower costs.

I have developed the DICE system to help you increase the production. You can find more about that system here.

5. Use the best people

The best people give the best results. You want people that are not necessarily already the best in their field, although if you can get them it would be the best. You want people that are motivated to become the best in their field.

This goes for all people in your organization: operators, superintendents, project managers, but also administrative people, head office managers and so on.

Remember that in the long run you get what you pay for. So don’t focus too much on the cost of the people, think about what they will earn for the company when you hire the best.

6. Buy quality equipment

What goes for people also goes for equipment. You want quality. That doesn’t necessarily mean getting the most expensive option, but it does mean that you consider not only the purchase price of the equipment you buy, but also the operating expense. That should include the costs of your dredger being idle when the equipment breaks down.

Mean time between failure is a good measurement to get an idea how often the equipment breaks. Subsequently also measure how long it takes to get back in operation when it fails, and you will have a fairly good picture of the real cost of the equipment.

7. Get help

Whenever you encounter problems in the operations, and in dredging you almost always do, get help. Don’t try to solve the problem with people that don’t really know the solution or don’t have a method of solving the problem.

Get expert help. We are here to help you with your production related problems, but there are many other experts in their respective fields.


These are the top 7 tips for dredging cheaper. When you take action on these tips you will reduce your dredging costs. If you want any help with implementing these, contact us here.

Did you ever take action that led to a lower unit rate and more profit? Let us know in the below comments section.

To your success,
Timon Vinke

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