Coastal Systems & Engineering and Port Development

The Coastal Systems and Engineering and Port Development Chair Group deals with the analysis, design and management of natural and man-made systems in the coastal environment. It deals with the defence, protection and management of coastal zones and the planning and the design of ports and harbours.

Typical aspects include marine dredging and the design of coastal structures such as breakwaters and dikes. The Coastal Engineering Specialization includes coastal erosion, beach protection and nourishment. The Port Development specialization includes nautical operations and logistics.

The Chair Group also aims at improving hydrodynamic and morphological prediction skills that are essential in multidisciplinary environmental impact studies related to large-scale land reclamation or access channel deepening. It also focuses on assessing the effects of sea level rise and climate change on coastal areas, including inlets and estuaries.


In the taught part of our 1.5 year MSc programme we are launching two new modules that reflect core strengths of our team:

  • - Climate change impacts and adaptation in coastal areas. In this new module we look at the climate system and climate change and its impacts on the coastal system; on the specific effects on ports and maritime operations, and ways to deal with them, e.g. through the green port concept; and on coastal hazards and risk assessment, including quantitative risk assessment and stakeholder engagement in decision making.
  • - Process-based coastal modelling. In this intensive, hands-on course you will be immersed in the Delft school of modelling coastal hydrodynamics and morphology, from setting up a regional model to simulating wave penetration in ports, storm impacts on dunes, complex morphodynamics on timescales of years and advanced shoreline modelling, taught by the developers and practitioners of world-leading systems such as Delft3D,  XBeach and ShorelineS.

International fieldtrip and fieldwork in Portugal

After last year’s successful field work in the Ria Formosa in southern Portugal we will organize both the international fieldtrip and the CEPD fieldwork in Portugal, which offers stunning coastal features, a range of natural and engineered beaches, severe erosion problems, ports in extremely challenging places and a range of dams, irrigation works and other water-related infrastructure. The fieldwork takes place at Ancao Inlet, a small, highly mobile tidal inlet next to long sandy beaches and dunes, where it is easy to make observations of all the fascinating processes that shape our coasts. Keywords for this fieldwork are independence and improvisation; it covers the design of a measurement scheme, execution, data retrieval and a first analysis.

Book: Design and construction of berm breakwaters

Prof. Van der Meer, the successor of prof. Ligteringen, published a book in 2016 on Design and Construction of Berm Breakwaters, together with co-author Sigurdur Sigurdarson from Iceland. Berm breakwaters may be a useful and economically attractive alternative if good quarries are present near the location of the project. By optimal blasting at quarries it is often possible to achieve rock well above 10 t and even 20 t, rock sizes that are hardly used in design of conventional rock structures. This book gives scientific background, but also practical design rules, application in examples and description of constructed breakwaters. The book is available at World Scientific and more information can be found at:

AXA Chair in Climate change impacts and Coastal risk

The AXA Chair in Climate change impacts and Coastal risk (CC&CR) at IHE Delft was launched in January 2014 with the granting of an endowed Chair following a successful proposal submitted to the AXA research fund.

Visit the website here.

Video: key findings of the regional climate change chapter (Chapter 12)

"Prof. Roshanka Ranasinghe on the key findings of the regional climate change chapter (Chapter 12) of the IPCC AR6 WGI.

Watch the video

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