Home Articles Tianjin International Cruise Terminal, China – Accomplishing the improbable

Tianjin International Cruise Terminal, China – Accomplishing the improbable


Located 170 km south-east of Beijing, Tianjin Port is the largest man-made port in China. One of the most important ports in the country, Tianjin trades with more than 400 ports in over 180 countries.

As part of its expansion plans, it was proposed to build an ultra-modern international cruise terminal at the Dongjiang Port Zone that will offer refuelling and maintenance facilities for some of the world’s largest cruise liners and would be a major stride forward for the growth of cruising in China.

The task of carrying out this mammoth project was handed over to China Construction Design International (CCDI), the company that had successfully delivered in the past by providing architectural, engineering and construction solutions to huge projects such as the Beijing National Aquatics Centre for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

In the first phase of the project, the company was faced with the challenging task of designing two large scale international cruise berths and also a passenger terminal with a capacity of 50,000 passengers per year. Once complete, the facility will have enough space to accommodate the port administration, shipping agencies, insurance firms, hotels and restaurants. Future construction plans at the site include a luxury fivestar hotel, exhibition centres and other commercial facilities.

The builders of this 700,000 square-metre colossal project had to overcome several challenges such as an extremely complex and difficult to model structure that included a design intended to imitate the surging movement of silk fabrics swirling in the ocean breeze. The plan also included a waveshaped roof, glass curtain walls and structural steel members with several inclination angles. The challenge was magnified by the huge size and aggressive construction schedule.

While carrying out the project using 2D design techniques would have consumed a lot of time, CCDI was able to complete the initial modelling in just nine days with the help of Autodesk Revit-based software.

Autodesk BIM (building information modelling) was used throughout the project for a variety of tasks including design, sunlight studies collision detection as well as quantity takeoffs.

GIS was used extensively during the Tianjin international cruise terminal project, right from conceptualisation, planning and designing to the implementation phase.

The terminal that is capable of receiving even the largest of currently operating cruisers, started operations in the summer of 2010 and is considered as one of the country’s finest architectural marvels.