Made in Germany

Since it was established in 1951 as a family-owned business, Josef Möbius Bau has been primarily involved with earthworks and rail industry projects. The company is an expert in engineering, construction and projects management, and since 1995, it has also been involved with the maritime industry in a number of ways. In fact, from canal dredging and port construction to offshore hydraulic engineering, the company has been a part of some of Germany’s most important marine projects.

The last time Shipping and Marine spoke to Josef Möbius in May 2011, the company was involved with construction at Germany’s first deepwater container terminal, JadeWeserPort, located in the Port of Wilhelmshaven. As part of this project, the company dredged nearly 40 million cubic metres of sand and reclaimed 350 hectares of land for the terminal, which is capable of handling the newest generation of container ships sized up to 15,000 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU). In a joint venture with three other midsized companies, it was also constructing a new 1725 metre quay wall that at 30 metres in height will be the largest in Europe.

The head of the geotechnical department at Josef Möbius, Volker Küster, was pleased with how the project was proceeding: “Overall we were pretty successful; a large majority of the works went according to plan and along the timescales we had predicted.

“In addition, beside the JadeWeserPort we have created an outfall for a new coal power plant. This required that we dredge a two km-long-trench and put four 3.4m-diameter pipes on the base. The cooling water comes into the pipes via an intake riser, which is a prefabricated concrete element. The structure was floated onto the right place in the river Jade and then sunk down under close control. This was really a big challenge, but it went smoothly.”

Aside from the JadeWeserPort project, Josef Möbius has been involved in several other notable maritime projects, as Volker explained: “In Odessa we’ve been working on a reclamation project for a new container terminal. This involved the dredging of four million m³ of sand in the Black Sea by a hopper (TSHD), transport to the site and placing in the new area by pumping and drizzling. The placing of sand has to be very carefully executed because of soils with very low shear strength in the sea bottom.

“We have also been part of a joint venture in Sundsvall, building the longest bridge in Sweden. The new structure is crossing a fjord and takes the European E4 motorway over the water.

“Finally, we’re also involved in a new ferry terminal (approximately 1100m long) and a new container terminal (approximately 1250m long) in Copenhagen.”

Volker credited the company’s ability to combine dredging and quay wall construction for its success in winning the Copenhagen contract: “Last year we went a step forward into the new market of global dredging and building harbours, which has been very successful. We are now working on making our internal structures fit for the future. This is not an easy process, but one that we see as an imperative going forward. We are also planning some investments, so for example, in late summer we are going to get a new Hopper with a volume of 7500 m³.”

Since 2008, Josef Möbius has been part of the major Austrian construction firm Strabag, and this has lead to another opportunity for the company, as Strabag has established a new division called Strabag Offshore Wind (SOW) and Möbius is a part of this initiative. Its role is to research and develop specialised equipment, as Volker explained: “For example, if an offshore windmill foundation needs to be installed at a depth of 40 metres with +/- five centimetres tolerance, then it is difficult and requires very specialised machinery. We are working, therefore, on answering the questions that these specifications raise.”

SOW is also comprised of two other companies: Züblin International and Strabag AG. The three companies engage in complementary activities that support ongoing research into the future of wind technology. Züblin has developed a special heavy weight foundation for shallow water installations, for example, and Josef Möbius created testing systems to put the equipment through its paces. Josef Möbius has also invested in the development of task-specific wind turbine transportation vessels with high capacities that enable rapid installation to support the scope of the project.

“The Möbius department for wind energy is working very close to SOW,” confirmed Volker. “A first test field in the northern sea with special windmill-foundation is already planned, and we are excited for the future.”

Specialist in marine construction
Extensive plant fleet
Six locations in Europe