Hitachi the ‘Go To’ Brand for Foyle & Marine Dredging

The team at Foyle & Marine Dredging are making steady progress on the construction of a new €17m Breakwater in Greencastle on behalf of Donegal County Council.  Its entire fleet of Hitachi excavators is utilised including its flagship 180-tonne, 30m reach Hitachi EX1200 that goes by the name of Grizzly 2.0. It is Foyle & Marine Dredging’s first project as Main Contractor and represents a significant step forward as the company builds for the future.

As the second largest white fish port in Ireland, Greencastle is home to a large inshore fleet mainly engaged in shellfish and crab, together with significant fishing support services including fish processing, marine engineering, boat building and net making.

The construction of a curving rock armour breakwater to the south-west of the harbour entrance to create safer entry for all vessels including the Greencastle to Magilligan ferry is vitally important.  It will reduce the vulnerability of vessels within the harbour to wave climate and improve the safety and effectiveness of the harbour for all users including tourism and leisure users availing of pontoon facilities. It will also lessen the impact of the natural tidal flow through the mouth of Lough Foyle.

Working from a temporary quay at the Queensport in Greencastle, Foyle & Marine mobilised to the site in April and is expected to complete the project just before Christmas. The project itself consists of the placement of around 200,000 tonnes of rock with a geotextile underlay and primary armour in the 1-3 tonne range.

Comments Foyle & Marine’s Ciaran Cunningham: “To date, we have placed over 90,000 tonnes of stone, work is progressing as planned, so we are on schedule, subject to the weather, to complete the breakwater by December, with all our Hitachi excavators performing very well.”

The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue and Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Liam Blaney, officially ‘broke ground’ on the Greencastle Harbour Breakwater project in June.  A ceremony was held to mark the official start of the project, together with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. Much of the funding has come from the Brexit Adjustment Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme, with Donegal County Council providing 5% of the construction cost and all non-construction related costs. 

Minister McConalogue states: “The Greencastle Harbour Breakwater project has been the top of my agenda and I was delighted to unveil a commemorative plaque to mark the beginning of works on the project. It will be a game changer for Greencastle and the marine community here. I thank all those involved in the project including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Donegal County Council, Foyle & Marine Dredging and Doran Consulting, who are administering the project.”

Seamus Bovaird, secretary of the Greencastle Harbour Users’ Group, which represents the vast majority of those using the harbour, has also welcomed the project. “To see workmen and machinery moving around the Queensport is something that we have been looking forward to for many years,” he says. “There have been many changes in the fishing industry since 2008, when initial work on the breakwater ceased, not many of them good, but the harbour is still at the heart of the community. Further development of the harbour will create job opportunities to replace those lost in the fishing industry.”

Construction has seen all of Foyle & Marine’s Hitachi fleet being used,

including a new Hitachi ZX300-7 Super Long Front excavator…

As previously mentioned, construction of the breakwater has seen all of Foyle & Marine’s Hitachi fleet being used.  This includes a recently acquired Hitachi ZX300-7 Super Long Front excavator which is working alongside an onshore based EX1200-7, assisted by a ZX890-7, a ZX530-7, and a ZX210-7, all supplied by TBF Thompson (Garvagh) Ltd. Leading from the front is the Hitachi EX1200-6 Grizzly 2.0 on board Foyle & Marine’s Spudleg Barge ‘Tara Marie’.

What makes this modified Hitachi EX1200 so much different from the standard model is the Triplex Boom which utilises two EX1900 rams in addition to the EX1200 standard rams for increased power at 30 metres reach and 20 metres digging depth. With an impressive load curve for handling rock armour and precast concrete units up to 13 tonnes, the machine truly lives up to its name ‘Grizzly 2.0’. A significantly wider undercarriage also provides a greater degree of stability, achieved by rotating the H-frame 90 degrees and bolting it to the top of two specially manufactured lengthening beams, resting on the track frames. 

Also, being put to good use on the project are two 30-tonne Bell articulated dump trucks which transport material from a stockpile to the end of the breakwater.  Rock is being delivered to the site via the road network and from Foyle Port at Lisahally on an 850m3 Split Hopper barge from Baars BV and Foyle & Marine’s Tug ‘Chloe May’, built by Dutch based Damen. Brought on to the site, too, was a Terex Orbital Conveyor, but it wasn’t required in the end.

“Hitachi is our ‘go to’ brand because

they are super reliable, well built and are operator friendly…”

“The Hitachi is our ‘go to’ brand, not least because they are super reliable, well built, strong, safe and stable and are user and operator friendly,” says Ciaran. “Plus, we get great back up from Hitachi and TBF Thompson. We make good use of Hitachi’s Global e-Service, which is an online portal where we can monitor our machines in real time.” 

That includes operational data, including working hours, pressures, temperatures and payloads, as well as fuel levels and consumption figures, which is sent from the machine on a daily basis via GPRS or satellite to a main server managed by Hitachi. It is then processed and available to view on the Global e-Service website.

Up until now Foyle & Marine Dredging may have been regarded as a specialist sub contractor, but adds Ciaran: “With Constructionline Gold accreditation and ISOs such as 9000, 14001 and 45001, we are well placed to bid for more projects as a Main Contractor going forward.”