News and information for the worldwide dredging industry

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DREDGING ROUNDUP LATIN AMERICA - April/May 2015

BRAZIL

In February, Van Oord and Boskalis signed a 210 Real ($65 million USD) contract with Brazil’s Ministry of Ports to deepen Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, according to publication CenárioMT. com.br. The dredging will allow the port to receive ships up to 345 meters long (1,132 feet). The work will expand the access channel, turning basin and dock areas to 15 meters (49 feet) depth. The contract must be completed within 20 months, the website reported. Edinho Araújo, special minister of ports, described the deal as key to “enable our ports to increasingly become competitive in this important and unique moment in the economic life of the country.”

 

BRAZIL

A federal court in Brazil has placed an injunction on a bidding process for dredging at the port of Santos, stalling the third attempt to find a company to dredge the busiest port in South America. The latest bidding call was supposed to occur on March 27, but was suspended after dredging company Coencil Construções e Empreendimentos Civis Ltda. complained that the qualification documents required for foreign companies were unclear, according to publication Estadão Conteúdo. The Federal District Court agreed to the injunction, and Brazil’s Ports Ministry said it would “take all necessary measures to resume bidding as soon as possible.” This is the third attempted bid call in the last year for dredging of the port of Santos; in previous bids, no bid came in below the ceiling.

 

CUBA

The thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba may position the port of Mariel to become an internationally important shipment hub, just as a port dredging project has been completed. The naturally deep port was recently deepened to 17 meters (56 feet) by Brazilian firm Odebrecht, deep enough to receive post-Panamax ships. The dredging project, bankrolled largely by the Brazilian government, was accompanied by construction of a new container terminal and a free-trade zone at the port – all part of a $1 billion plan to transfer cargo shipping from the port of Havana to Mariel 30 miles away. That plan would free the capital city’s port to focus on tourism and recreation traffic. McClatchy DC reported that the U.S. trade embargo remains the major obstacle to converting Mariel into a major international shipping hub.

 

CHILE

The government of Chile has begun an emergency dredging project on the Rio Cau Cau after a newly constructed draw bridge has failed to raise its arms enough to allow ships to pass through, reports Radio Bio Bio. The river is used by ships transiting through Valdivia. The Public Works Department is working with the bridge’s construction company to fix the problem. Meanwhile, the government is using its own dredges to deepen the river to allow some ships to pass through.

 

ECUADOR

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in final negotiations with officials in Guayaquil to dredge and remove Los Goles, rocky obstructions in the city’s port that have long plagued shippers and port officials, reports El Universo. After a lengthy political battle over whether Guayaquil’s port or another in Ecuador should receive funding for dredging, a call for bid was issued last year for a dredging contract to clear Los Goles. Both Dredging International and Jan de Nul responded with bids, but with offers about two and three times, respectively, the $11.5 million that the Guayaquil municipal government had planned to invest in the dredging project. Late last year, the government began negotiating directly with the Corps of Engineers, and the agency produced technical plans for the dredging project. In March, officials from the U.S. federal agency were scheduled to fly to Guayaquil to finalize those plans. The dredging project will deepen the port from 8.7 meters (28.5 feet) to 11 meters (36 feet) at low tide.

 

URUGUAY

Amid further conflict between Uruguay and Argentina over the channel they share custody of, companies have been asked to bid on a contract to dredge it, Uruguayan media has reported. The Martin Garcia channel is more economically important to Uruguay, but all management decisions must be made in collaboration with Argentina. The channel has lost depth and width in the last two years because Argentina has blocked Uruguay’s maintenance and expansion plans; the siltation has been severe enough that last year, some ships ran aground. In early March, the Rio de la Plata Administrative Commission – a body with officials from both countries – began soliciting bids for dredging on the channel to maintain it at a 32-foot depth and a 100- to 120-meter (328- to 394-feet) width. The two countries had been using their own dredges to maintain the channel for the last year, but Uruguay was not satisfied with that solution, according to Uruguay’s minister of Transportation and Public Works, Victor Rossi. “Unfortunately the maintenance of the Martin Garcia Channel has become a problem for the relationship with Argentina. The way they were dredging was not satisfactory,” Rossi said, according to Uruguayan publication El Observador.

 

MEXICO

The hopper dredge Don Jose was flagged in a ceremony at the Mexican port of Lázaro Cárdenas, reported the publication T21.mx. The dredge, which has a capacity of 5,934 gross tons, was flagged in a ceremony led by the harbor master in Lázaro Cárdenas. That port, which is a major shipping hub for the state of Michoacán, has been the site of the dredge’s work: the dredge is working to expand the access channel to 19 meters (62 feet) and other parts of the port to 17 meters (56 feet). The vessel is owned by Unifin Financiera and has a Mexican crew and equipment.

 

MEXICO

Several mayors of major cities across northern Mexico met to advocate dredging the Port of Mazatlán, sending a statement to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, asking him to deliver on the $85 million that he promised for that purpose, reported publication El Debate. Mayors from Durango, Tepic, Monterrey, Tamaulipas, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo and Mazatlán met to discuss how to improve the economy of Mexico’s northern corridor. “Three or four years is a long time not to get anything done toward the dredging of Mazatlán,” said Esteban Villegas, the mayor of Durango.

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