Stakeholder opposition led to a scaled-back
reclamation project in Forest City, Malaysia this year. The project to reclaim land for
mixed-development use in Johor Strait began
in June 2014 but was halted over environmental
concerns expressed by area fishermen. A public review resulted in a revised project plan, in
which four islands will be built by 2045 at a cost
of RM450 billion.
Regulatory obstacles can also complicate proj-
ects. In countries like Indonesia and India, it’s not
uncommon for project managers to encounter
situations where the central government grants
environmental permits or permission to use land
but local authorities don’t recognize those deci-
sions, Mr. Overbeek says. The best way for project
managers to prepare is to work with local technical
and legal consultants to develop an inventory of
current rules and regulations as well as a scenario-
planning document that anticipates legislation
“You can only mitigate a risk if you know the
risk is there,” Mr. Overbeek says.
Once a reclamation project does get the official
go-ahead, it’s crucial to involve the contractor early
on, says Jack HC Kerklaan, director, Akuna Dredging Solutions, Brisbane, Australia. Mr. Kerklaan,
who in the late 1990s executed a large reclamation
project in Singapore with JTC Corp., says geotech-nical and geophysical investigations during the
planning phase of a dredging project are instrumental for avoiding surprises during the execution.
“The mutual understanding and allocation of the
operational, environmental, financial and political
risks will result in a smooth execution with fewer
surprises and the best opportunity to complete the
project in time and within the budget,” he says.
Mr. Overbeek sums up the risks and challenges
project managers face in land reclamation projects with simple advice: Resist the urge to make
assumptions, check the facts and keep updating.
“Past experience can only take you so far,” he says.
Asia is the world’s largest continent—and it’s getting bigger.
Here are a few of the largest
land reclamation projects
underway to push shorelines
farther out to sea.
SINGAPORE: In recent
decades, the tiny nation-state
has spent more than US$10
billion on two major reclamation efforts to expand its
size. Expansion of the Tuas
Peninsula began in 1984, with
the most recent phase of the
project set to finish in October. Jurong Island was formed through a program that linked
multiple islands, an effort that began with a US$5.6 billion
project in 1991. In 2013, another expansion of the island began.
The US$800 million project is slated to be completed in 2018.
CHINA: The country is reclaiming tidal areas along the southern Yellow Sea in the country’s mostly densely populated province, Jiangsu. The project to reclaim 1,800 square kilometers
(181,700 hectares) of new land began in 2010 and is scheduled
to be completed in 2020.
The Chinese government has also embarked on one of the
largest land reclamations in the history of Macau. It plans to
add 350 hectares ( 3. 5 square kilometers), or nearly 12 percent, to the entertainment peninsula’s land area for residential
and commercial use. Public consultations began in 2009, and
a master plan is now being finalized. Construction should
begin by 2017.
The artificial island of