Variability of underwater structures makes inspections interesting

Port of Luleå is the largest dry bulk port in Sweden. The port’s values include being innovative and responsible partner for their clients and the surrounding community. One proof of the innovativeness of Port of Luleå is that they have been using multibeam sonar technology in their asset management already since 2015.

The inspection areas included several different types of structures from concrete or steel sheet walls to complex pile structures. VRT’s experienced field crew can adapt the inspection equipment quickly for the changing materials or structure types so that it doesn’t affect the progress of the field work. Different structure types also have their own typical traits and common damages which need to be considered when performing the inspections. VRT’s licensed inspectors follow the guidelines of Finnish Transport Agency for structural inspections, which include specifications for different structure types. The observations are categorized as information or slight, significant or severe damages. In GISGRO online service the observations are pinpointed in the 3D data; it’s easy to make plans or calculations about the repairs and guide the maintenance team to the exact spot.

Detailed view of the structures as the baseline for predictive maintenance

The inspection results are topical for the port’s coming dredging works as well as for planning and executing maintenance operations. One important factor was to monitor the accumulations at the Iron ore quay to ensure enough depth for cargo vessels. Some of the iron ore may spill while loading the cargo and the port was interested if there are significant changes between 2015 and 2018 data of the seabed and the amount of accumulation. Nothing significant was detected, the accumulation in some places was slightly decreased and some places slightly increased.

Read more about Port of Luleå here.


The result from the VRT scanning is an efficient way to get information about the status of the seabed and the quay structures in Port of Luleå. We use the results as a basis for our maintenance planning.

John Sundvall, Technical Manager, Port of Luleå

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Karri Kolehmainen & Ville Mäkeläinen

Karri Koistinen

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Ville Mäkeläinen

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