July 30, 2021 — Port of Taichung, TIPC recently ordered the construction of a new caisson gate and the renovation of waterside gate facilities to significantly improve the safety, raise the quality, and reduce the costs of maintaining / repairing ships at the port. The new caisson gate was completed in May of this year (2021) and has already been inaugurated into service.
Port of Taichung is the only port in central Taiwan with drydocks sufficiently large to handle repair and maintenance work on ships in the 10,000GWT-and-higher class. The extensive drydock capacity at the port is further complemented by the extensive adjacent land area available for ship maintenance and repair support activities.
According to Port of Taichung officials, the port’s dockyard and original caisson gate began operations in August 1978 and have been in active service for the last 42 years, providing exceptional maintenance and repair services to vessels in central Taiwan. The general practice is to pump water out of the dockyard after closure of the caisson gate. The original pumping system relied heavily on port staff and mechanical equipment, both of which had become increasingly expensive over the intervening decades. Moreover, associated facilities such as the cable and winch system and caisson structure were showing their age and increasingly ineffective for the tasks at hand. To continue its role as central Taiwan’s main center for ship maintenance and repair, raise service quality, and reduce related costs, the Port of Taichung began a major renovation of its dockyard facilities in 2018, with the updated facilities coming online starting in 2020.
The project to build a new caisson gate and renovate associated facilities was budgeted at NT$60 million. The new gate measures 28.8 x 3.6 x 8.7m and was certified for use by the CR Classification Society. Further testing and practice have made new caisson gate operations exceptionally safe and have given a significant boost to overall occupational safety at the port. In addition, the three-motor design of the new system has greatly reduced the time required to close / open the caisson gate, improved operational efficiencies, and reduced related costs.
Port of Taichung plays a critical support role in Taiwan’s promotion and development of offshore wind farms and is actively installing related facilities and equipment. The combined operation and maintenance period of this long-term effort is currently estimated at more than 20 years. With the completion of the new caisson gate and related facilities, the maintenance and repair of wind-farm crew transfer vessels (CTVs) as well as of other ships can be handled effectively and efficiently at the Port of Taichung.