Why not all TSHDs are large

TSHD size comparison, Part 2.

For part 1, click here.

This is part 2 of a two-part series about the extreme difference in size between TSHDs. Even today new TSHDs of 2000m3 hopper capacity or less are still being build. While on the other end of the spectrum we have TSHDs with a hopper capacity of 46,000 m3, a factor 23 larger. How is that the TSHDs on each end of the spectrum can still operate profitably?

In Part one we covered the advantages of large TSHDs. You can find it here.

Today we look at the small TSHDS. Why are they still being build?

Draft limits

Dredging mostly takes place near the shore. Therefore, the draft of the dredging vessel is limited. The large TSHDs have a draft of as much as 15 m. With these drafts these TSHDs simply can’t enter all the areas where dredging needs to take place. Smaller TSHDs are therefore a necessity.

Better maneuverability

The large TSHDs have lengths of more than 200 m. They aren’t agile enough to dredge in ports, around quay walls and such. Smaller TSHDs have a lot better maneuverability and therefore are ideal for dredging in tight spots.

A 1,500 m3 TSHD.
Source: www.dredgers.nl

Cheaper Mobilization

The weekly cost of a small TSHD is much lower than that of a large one. This results in lower mobilization costs. For small projects this is a clear advantage as it reduces the total cost of the dredging project.

Sufficient production

Not every project requires hundreds of thousands of cubic meters produced every week. In fact, on some reclamation projects this might even pose problems as these huge productions need to be accommodated. Smaller TSHDs sometimes simply provide sufficient production to finish the project on time.


As the initial investment of a small TSHD is lower there is more opportunity for specialization. An ultra-low draught vessel, a special silt dredger, try doing that with a 46,000 m3 TSHD. The investment would simply never return itself. But specializing a small TSHD can actually make it more profitable.

These are not the only reasons why there is a market for small vessels. If you know of any more reasons, let us know in the below comment box.


By combining Part 1 and Part 2 you will see that there are, even today, reasons to build very large TSHDs, small TSHDs and everything in between.

To your long term great results,
Timon Vinke

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