“Dolphin structure” Is the Future for the Port of Kullorsuaq

Royal Arctic Line has changed their vessels into new longer ones resulting in a challenge with the port facilities, which is designed for the previous vessels. In Kullorsuaq, the problem was that the vessels were only able to reach the dock with the front end, leading to a great risk that the stern of the vessel would rotate one way or another. 

To solve this challenge, Orbicon Arctic has designed and built “a dolphin structure”. The dolphin is a marine structure that both provides a mooring point and supports the vessel. Due to the very northern location of Kullorsuaq, there is a thick cover of sea ice in the port during the winter period. This, together with the expectation that the port will need an expansion in the future, the dolphin was constructed as a sheet pile structure, which can also be the structural part of a future quay construction. The whole project has involved idea proposal, design engineering, client consultancy, construction management, and supervision. 

With Orbicon Arctic’s expertise within infrastructure, port facilities, and construction, the Government of Greenland has modified the facility to meet both present and future requirements. This way the port now meets modern standards and is able to handle the new settlement vessels. Additionally, when necessary, the structure can be used to extend the quayside and port area to handle the increased quantities of goods that may become a reality in the future.

Morten Stig Ebbesen

Morten Stig Ebbesen
Arctic engineer

Arctic Challenges

The project was carried out close to latitude 75 degrees north, meaning that the climate only gives a very short period for construction work. At the same time, the remote location of the area with limited infrastructure also complicated the ordering of construction materials. It is simply not always possible to get the materials on time and it is therefore important with highly detailed planning from both the consultants and the contractors. 

Orbicon Arctic has been involved from the beginning of the project. Idea proposal, planning and design engineering were carried out between autumn 2015 and spring 2016. The construction was conducted in July and August 2016.

Upon delivery of the structure, the helicopter had a failure meaning that what should have been a 16- hour stay ended up as 9 days in Kullorsuaq for the supervising engineer. This clearly shows some of the challenges working in a highly arctic environment.

The Government of Greenland
Kullorsuaq, North Greenland
400 m2
Consulting engineers
Orbicon A/S
Idea, client consultancy, project engineering, and project management