Floating or Fixed Dock for RO/RO Ship Operations

by Bankim Mallick, ABAM Engineers, Federal Way, United States,
Curtis L. Ratcliffe, ABAM Engineers, Federal Way, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Ports '92


Floating pontoon-type dock structures are typically used for RO/RO ship berthing. Primary advantage of a floating dock for RO/RO berthing is the relatively constant height relationship between the dock and the ship's ramp through the tidal cycle. However, even this relationship changes with change in ship's draft under light/loaded conditions. Disadvantages of a floating dock is its high capital cost and inability to handle containers or general cargo operations; because traditionally, the floating docks are designed for low storage (live) loads. A lower level fixed dock, except at sites with very high tidal variations, can support RO/RO operations, is considerably cheaper than floating docks, and can be easily adapted to container or general cargo operations. A case study is presented here that will illustrate the relative merits of floating and fixed docks for RO/RO operation; define criteria and analysis procedures for establishing optimum freeboard/height of floating and fixed docks, respectively; and provide guidelines for other design criteria like dock size (length/breadth), mooring and berthing arrangements, and design loads.

Subject Headings: Docks | Freight transportation | Structural design | Structural analysis | Load factors | Tides | Ships

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