Design and specifications for improving fishery port infrastructure in Al-Hodeida, Al-Khawbah and Nishtun

Date: July 2008 - March 2011
Client: Fisheries Resource Management & Conservation Project, Project Support Centre

Project overview

This project refers to the rehabilitation and improvement of infrastructure and superstructure facilities in three fishing ports of national importance, in Hodeidah, Khawbah (both on the Red Sea) and Nishtun (Gulf of Aden). The three ports were built in the 1980s.

The port of Hodeidah was subjected to littoral transit which has progressively silted up its southern part and allowed a yard dedicated to the repair of fishing boats to be created. Regular maintenance dredging works are however necessary in the access channel. For some years, the sand has no longer been able to accumulate in the south of the port; it bypasses the port, significantly settles in the access channel and threatens the access of fishing boats to the port in the medium term. A solution had to be found to limit filling risks in the dock entrance passageway. Besides, the number of fishing boats has considerably increased since the construction of the port which appeared to be very cramped and required extension works. Yemen, which exports fishery products to Europe, wished to upgrade its auction halls to be in a position to continue to export in good conditions. Building auction halls in conformity with the European standards is thus essential. Lastly, as the port of Hodeidah was a major base for the repair of fishing boats, the Client was interested in implementing a mobile lifting system to put fishing boats high and dry.

The original design of the port of Khawbah was poor and it has been filled rapidly on account of sand movements from the south towards the north which made it impossible to use the unloading wharf (in very poor condition). The local fishermen, whose numbers have considerably increased since the port was built, no longer had any wharves onto which they can unload their catches or for safe shelter for their boats. Therefore, the project aimed to define the works required to develop a sheltered port dock the size of which should be sufficient to accommodate fishing boats, and to make the docking of fishing boats more secure during the fishery product unloading phases. The project also included the improvement of the port infrastructure and networks (water, power, sanitation, etc.).

In the port of Nishtun, the facilities which had been initially planned were for handling large quantities of fish (ice tower, refrigerating building with a capacity of 2,000 tonnes, etc.). These facilities have never been fully operated, progressively deteriorated and became unusable by the end of the 1990s. The project thus consisted in redeveloping the port with the prospect of a less ambitious artisanal fishing activity, directed towards the processing of the fish to be exported to Europe, and putting port areas at the disposal of private operators in the fishing sector. 

Our missions

The study consisted of five major components:

  • site reconnaissance in the three ports
  • hydrosedimentary study in the ports of Hodeidah and Khawbah to define the solutions to be implemented to limit sanding-up problems
  • preliminary and detailed design studies of the various projected maritime and land structures
  • environmental impact assessment carried out in conformity with the recommendations of the World Bank
  • preparation of tender documents for the works



Site reconnaissance consisted in carrying out topographic and bathymetric surveys in the three ports and collecting sediment samples in Hodeidah and Khawbah with a view to performing the hydrosedimentary survey.



For the port of Hodeidah, the purpose of the sedimentary survey was to propose and design/size a solution making it possible to reduce or even stop sanding-up phenomena in the channel and in the port (groyne at the end of the dyke, silting tank, by-pass, etc.).

For the port of Khawbah, the hydrosedimentary study aimed to assess the impact of littoral drift on the planned structures (construction of a new dyke for protecting the dock).

For both ports, the study included hydrosedimentary modelling operations based on refraction diagrams as well as sedimentary transit modelling.

Modelling the propagation of swells of the open sea was carried out using the STWAVE software (Nearshore Evolution MOdelling System software suite, NEMOS) developed by USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers).

The hydrosedimentary survey was carried out by means of the GENESIS software (GENEralized model for SImulating Shoreline change) of the NEMOS software suite, combined with a sedimentary appraisal aiming to:

  • assess the effectiveness of these structures (in terms of reducing sanding-up phenomena in the channel and in the port)
  • assess the impact of these works on the sediment dynamics downstream transit (erosion, accretion areas, etc.).



In the fishing port of Hodeidah, the preliminary and detailed design studies covered:

-      maritime works:

  • construction of a sand-stopping groyne
  • construction of dykes to extend the port
  • dredging works for creating a new dock and restoring the depth of the access channel
  • construction of a 100m long sheet-pile quay
  • creation of an infrastructure facility for using a ship-lifting system
  • creation of a beaching area

-      land works:

  • construction of an auction hall based on European standards (50 x 30m), including ice machines, a closed and air-conditioned sales area, premises for the inspection services, a reception area for fishery products and an area for loading lorries
  • construction of an open hall for selling sharks, an administrative building, an area dedicated to the disinfection of lorries
  • construction of access roads, parking areas
  • all networks (electricity, fresh water, salt water and sewage)
  • purchase of a ship lifting facility for the repair of fishing boats

In the port of Khawbah, the preliminary and detailed design studies covered:

  • construction of a new protection dyke
  • dredging a new dock protected by the dyke
  • construction of a 60m-long unloading wharf
  • construction of a yard behind the quay
  • construction of an administrative building and an area dedicated to the disinfection of lorries
  • all networks (electricity, fresh water, salt water and sewage)
  • construction of a service station for fishermen
  • implementing generating sets for electricity supply to the port.

In the port of Nishtun, the preliminary and detailed design studies covered:

  • rehabilitation of the coping of the unloading quay
  • construction of an additional length of quay
  • some dredging works
  • conversion of the existing refrigerating building (60 x 40m) into an auction hall and a fish processing building (based on European standards), a building with ice machines, a closed and air-conditioned sales area, premises for the inspection services, a reception area for fishery products and a lorry-loading area, a fish processing area, a freezing tunnel and refrigerated rooms
  • demolition of an ice tower, a mosque, the former auction hall
  • construction of a new mosque, an administrative building, a restaurant, facilities for fishermen
  • preparation of yards for future private fishing operators
  • all networks (electricity, soft water, salt water and sewage)
  • implementing generating sets for electricity supply to the port

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT IN CONFORMITY WITH THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE WORLD BANK: The environmental impact assessment was carried out for each port on the basis of the World Bank's recommendations and in conformity with the national regulations relating to the environment.