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INDUSTRY REVIEWCIVIL ENGINEERING


Mammoet carrying out a bridge replacement project in the USA.


concern, though, is that cities, counties and states do not have shovel-ready projects that can capitalise on that new funding. So I think we are looking at late 2019 before we start seeing work rolling into the market,” he commented.


US civil projects pushed through


US President Donald Trump’s targeted USD1.5 trillion investment in national infrastructure is set to provide a major boost to the project logistics companies that serve the USA’s civil engineering sector. Phil Hastings reports.


infrastructure concerned is already in such poor condition that a growing number of upgrade/replacement projects will need to be pushed through in the meantime. That, at least, is how a cross-section of logistics companies active in that market assessed the likely short and medium-term prospects for infrastructure-related civil engineering project work in the USA.


P


Cautious optimism Erik Zander, director of sales for Omega Morgan, is optimistic that Trump’s plans will provide significant new business opportunities, but he also sounded notes of caution.


“I believe we are going to see a huge boost to business from that investment. My


www.heavyliftpfi.com


I think we are looking at late 2019 before we start seeing work rolling into the market. – Erik Zander, Omega Morgan


resident Trump’s much-vaunted infrastructure spending plan has yet to translate into work for the project logistics sector. However, a considerable amount of the


Bill Kimball, account manager for Mammoet USA North, suggested demand for new infrastructure work in the USA, particularly relating to the replacement of thousands of structurally defective bridges, is likely to remain strong regardless of the impact of Trump’s investment plans. “The USA has a lot of ageing and dilapidated infrastructure and that is creating a constant need for replacement and modernisation projects. Every year, individual states come out with typically very substantial capital spending programmes for infrastructure improvements. In the states of Pennsylvania and Ohio alone, for example, there are currently programmes to replace 550-600 bridges,” he reported.


“Even in some US states where capital spending in general might be slow, there is still a requirement for civil engineering work, notably in relation to highways and bridges but also in other sectors, for example infrastructure along waterways where lock and dam projects are popping up.”


Important juncture


A further insight into the current state of the infrastructure sector of the US civil engineering market was provided by Javier Martinez, executive director for ALE, who added: “In the USA, it is clear that in terms of infrastructure-related civil engineering projects, we are coming up to an important time. It has been reported that 10 percent of the more than 660,000 bridges in that country are now structurally deficient and need replacing.” However, in terms of new heavy lift and freight forwarding work, it will probably take four or five years to materialise. “It takes time to draw up a design for a new bridge and get it approved, and for the construction company to invite bids and award contracts.” Another factor set to drive demand for new bridges in the USA, suggested Martinez, is the Panama Canal expansion, which was completed in 2016. “Some of the larger ships that now use


the Panama Canal are running into draught limitations because of height restrictions under some of the existing bridges, mainly in the eastern part of the USA.” Martinez said that in order for larger ships to access ports those bridges will have to be raised or replaced.


May/June 2018


HLPFI 55


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