The Association of Pacific Ports is pleased to welcome our newest Association Member, Marine & Civil Maintenance Pty Ltd (MCM). First established over 20 years ago, MCM is a market leader in the field of complex structural repair, maintenance, and refurbishment projects of large civil infrastructure.
“We’re excited to share our technology and services with APP Members,” said Blane McGuiness, Executive Manager, Engineering. “We’re able to pro-actively mitigate the need for large-scale remedial work by mitigating the corrosion process in large concrete structures.” This, plus their commitment to environmentally sustainable practices, illustrate the ingenuity and innovation behind the success of the company.
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with offices in Melbourne, Central Queensland and Fiji, MCM’s team of 65 staff – 15 engineers, 10 senior supervisors and the balance a mix of administration, skilled labour, dive crews, bridge and wharf carpenters, and plant operators – have an enviable track record when it comes to the delivery of technically challenging rehabilitation projects.
“Our systems are aligned to work on operational facilities which may handle containers, bulk grains, dangerous liquids or passenger liners and as such, we are adept at coordinating multiple stakeholders, shipping schedules and tidal movements seamlessly to ensure client expectations are met across all KPIs: time, budget, safety, quality and environmental impact,” said McGuiness, highlighting the work done with the Port of Melbourne as an example.
The project included the repair and electrical upgrade to the existing embedded concrete and submerged water anode cathodic protection systems under a design and construct approach; installation of cabling and new Omniflex TR units with remote monitoring capability; and concrete repairs – all while providing a low-impact worksite through MCM Greentech initiatives including portable off-grid solar-powered site offices and lunchrooms, the reuse of redundant CP power units for temporary energizing tests, and the centre piece technology the MCM GreenTech Shield.
While the U.S. is a new market for them, McGuiness noted that senior employees of the company have worked across a number of projects in countries such as China, Finland, Brazil, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. “The technology works very well on infrastructure that has required de-icing so countries with colder climates benefit greatly.”
Part of MCM’s strategy in accessing new markets abroad includes sourcing partners already in those markets to provide training of local engineering teams along with the technology and support. Local partners in turn would contribute their knowledge of compliance regulations and on-site labour.
The MCM approach: GreenTech Shield
As mentioned above, MCM’s proprietary technology – GreenTech Shield – mitigates corrosion in marine structures allowing ports to avoid expensive rebuilds. “It’s a cost-effective method that extracts chlorides from concrete,” explained McGuiness. “The cost of remediation of marine infrastructure can become relatively expensive when you consider operations interruptions. When you consider the MCM GTS however, we can extend the service life of the structure, with significant cost efficiencies, while as port operations continue uninterrupted.”
MCM are experts in electrochemical treatment and have used their expertise and experience to develop a more refined method of electrochemical protection to extract chlorides, mitigating the need for costly concrete repairs.
As McGuiness described it, the chemistry has been around for years, but MCM has made it more useable. “Environmental factors that were undesirable have been removed – for example, the use of dosing chemicals and fibrous spray materials that are unsuitable for tidal and splash zones. As soon as you put it on, it would get washed out and the chemicals and fibre would leach into the water.” MCM’s system is constructed with a patented self-contained laminate system that consists of electrolyte-retention membranes, conductive adhesives, and encapsulated high-efficiency anodes.
The system was developed over the past 3 years and was initially trialed onsite during their work with the Port of Melbourne. “They were happy to let us install this on their site, and we then had it verified by the University of New South Wales. It’s very much a data-led approach — we take a lot of baseline data showing the level of corrosion activity and then we test after applying the system and extracting the chloride so you can then see how much is left in the structure.”
The testing revealed a significant reduction of chlorides following application, falling to almost zero after a couple of weeks. “After treatment there is negligible corrosion,” said McGuiness. “We’ve used diagnostic equipment to measure what’s happening as the process progresses and it shows significantly reduced levels of oxygen, and chlorides.
While protection can last up to 25+ years, McGuiness noted that pro-active management was key to maintaining infrastructure over the long term. “We develop a maintenance program tailored to the clients service life expectations, so the design life leads maintenance programs following initial application.”
The MCM strategy can also provide assurances of costs for budgeting. “Repairing a wharf via conventional concrete repairs, or the installation of a Cathodic Protection System all at once can be an expensive proposition that will require a significant capital outlay. With our system and a planned maintenance plan, you can start with the areas of most concern and then budget for known costs year over year. For boards and commissions, the idea is especially appealing – having a long-term maintenance plan alleviates the need for facing emergency budget shortfalls,” said McGuiness, adding that planned maintenance means avoiding operational shutdowns and impacts on supply chain logistics.
Another unique offering from MCM is their refurbishment of site buildings for on-site offices that are fully solar powered. Launched three years ago, the initiative provides for a complete environmental suite of on-site services. “We provide off-the-grid site amenities,” said McGuiness. “The site offices are re-purposed electrical containers that have been retrofitted and turned into fully furnished, air-conditioned offices with windows and solar panels. They also have rainwater capture, so they are entirely off the power grid.”
This is just one more initiative that speaks to MCM’s commitment to innovation and reducing waste. This, plus their international engineering accreditations and their well-documented success delivering on technically challenging wharf and jetty rehabilitation projects, stands as a testament to the standards APP members can expect as MCM rolls out the technology to an international market.