News and information for the worldwide dredging industry

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April/May 2017 - DR/LA

Dredging and canalization efforts aim to avoid damages potentially caused by the rainy season
in Panama. Photo: Panama’s Ministry of Public Works (MOP).

Dredging and canalization efforts aim to avoid damages potentially caused by the rainy season in Panama. Photo: Panama’s Ministry of Public Works (MOP).


Panama’s Ministry of Public Works (MOP) said dredging at the country’s Abajo River, within Panama City, is almost over in the sections comprising the vehicular bridge near the España Way and the Monte Oscuro car bridge, the latter located in the administrative division of Pueblo Nuevo. MOP said its equipment, including a cave digger and a tractor, so far removed 800-cubic-yards of sediments and waste in a range of 1 mile. MOP said both the dredging and canalization of the Abajo River are part of a wider plan by the country’s Pluvial Drains department to avoid any damages potentially caused by the rainy season in Panama.


The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced in March that it received its 1,000th Neopanamax vessel through its expanded canal. The Mediterranean Shipping Company owned containership MS Anzu was the 1,000th vessel to transit the waterway. Built in 2015, the Panama-flagged containership has about 299.98 meters (984 feet) in length and 48.23 meters (158 feet) in beam with a capacity of 9,008 Twenty-foot Equivalent (TEUs) or 153,136 freight tons. “Today’s transit represents a considerable milestone, marking the industry’s strong adoption of the expanded canal and its successful operations so far,” said Panama Canal Administrator, Jorge Quijano. According to ACP, the milestone marks what it labeled as a “steady flow of traffic,” which includes containerships, liquid petroleum gas vessels, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels. Bulk carriers, vehicle carriers, and crude product tankers have also transited through the expanded canal, ACP added. “The container segment accounts for nearly half the transits through the expanded canal and represents its principal source of traffic,” it said.


The Brazilian northeast state of Ceara signed in The Hague, The Netherlands, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Port of Rotterdam to discuss, research and then negotiate the development of a structure for the Ceara state-owned Pecem Industrial and Port Complex (CIPP). The document was signed on March 22, and aims to provide more synergy as well as increased operational and economic efficiency for the Brazilian complex. The Ceara state said those studies should be completed in the next 12 months. Both the Port of Rotterdam and the state of Ceara have been jointly studying opportunities for advancing the Sao Goncalo do Amarante, an industrial and port complex since 2015. According to the Brazilian state, the CIPP offers “great potential for further development,” since it’s not just a port, but also a complex, made up of an industrial area, port activity and an Export Processing Zone (EPZ). The Ceara state also mentioned the fact the Port of Rotterdam has about 600 years of expertise in the port field, having already partnered with other ports, including the Port of Kuala Tanjung, in Indonesia, and the Port of Sohar, in Oman.


In March, port services provider Dragado de Caribe concluded dredging at the Dominican Republican Port of Puerto Plata, located in the city and province of same name, the country’s port authority, APORDOM, said. Dredging aimed to clean up sediments near the port’s riverbed. The project was completed in about three weeks and increased the port’s draft to an 8.4 meters (27.5 feet) depth at its west side, and to a 7.4 meters (24.2 feet) depth at its east side. The port’s access channel was also deepened to 10.5 meters (34.4 feet). APORDOM said every year the bay’s draft falls by 1.7 feet, making the arrival of vessels of higher drafts more difficult.


The Ecuadorian province of Manabi began dredging at the Portoviejo River, close to the river mouth known as La Boca de Crucita. Works began on March 8 as part of a project that includes the clean-up and dredging of river channels along the Portoviejo River, from La Boca until the San Silvestre sector. According to the government of Manabi, every year, especially by winter time, sediments start to accumulate at the river and its channels, demanding them to be cleaned. “Dredging started at the La Boca, because we need to have a drainage from there, where the Portoviejo River waters outflow. So the clean-up starts at the La Boca channels in order to allow waters to normally reach the sea,” Joab Lopez, director of irrigation and drainage at Manabi’s province, explained. The first phase of the dredging project should cover an extension of 5 miles (8 kilometers). So far, dredging helped to unclog the estuary along 5 miles within its channels, and cleaned up about 7 hectares of areas that before were abandoned due to low water levels, and that now could be used for tourism or agricultural purposes. Leonardo Hidalgo, director of environmental management at the Province of Manabi, said the sediments extracted from the river could later be used to build artificial beaches to boost local tourism.


In late February, the Argentinian province of Entre Rios and Cargill signed an agreement to dredge the access channel of the Port of Diamante, located in the city of same name in the Entre Rios administrative division. Under the terms of the agreement, the government of Entre Rios will invest ARS 20 million ($1.28 million USD) to dredge the facility’s access channel, as a way to increase its draft to 27 feet, allowing larger vessels to dock at the port. It should also keep maintenance dredging for five years. The dredging project would also make it an international port. The Governor of Entre Rios, Gustavo Bordet, told local media the port’s draft could later increase to 34 feet. The province is also considering building a wharf, so container operators could load their cargos. Cargill is the port administrator, from where it transports grains. The Port of Diamante ships about 1.2 million tons per year. The dredging deal was welcomed by a number of local entities, including the Business Council of Entre Rios, the local Agrarian Federation and the Entre Rios Federation of Cooperatives. Bordet estimated logistics transportation to increase about 35 percent at the Port of Diamante due to the expected dredging of the facility’s access channels.


Nineteen illegal dredges were found at the Brazilian Madeira River in the country’s Amazon, in the state of Amazonas, according to the nation’s environmental regulator IBAMA. All dredges were apprehended and had their activities embargoed in a joint operation involving IBAMA, the state’s military police, among other environmental entities. About 1.1 kilograms (2.42 pounds) of gold, 3kg (6.61 pounds) of metallic mercury as well as other mining instruments were found in the operation. IBAMA didn’t name the owners of the dredges, but said it applied 11 infringement acts worth BRL 11 million ($3.53 million USD). “All (dredging) activities were embargoed. And if the dredges come back, the equipment will be destroyed,” IBAMA said, while commenting on the operation.


The Administrative Commission of the Uruguay River (CARU) has opened a public tendering for the opening, deepening and maintenance dredging of the Uruguay River between the kilometers zero and 206.8, including the access channel to the Concepción de Uruguay Port in Argentina, binational entity CARU said. The river authority said the tender is part of another project, which includes the dredging of the Uruguay River between the kilometers zero and 187.1, also including the access channel of the Concepción de Uruguay Port, and the channels between the kilometers 187.1 and 206.8 nearby Paysandu city. Argentinian media noted the three companies competing to assume the dredging project are Boskalis, Jan De Nul and Dredging International N.V. The current tendering follows a dredging project Jan de Nul performed at the   Uruguay River, from the kilometers 196 to 200 between the cities of Concepcion, in Argentina, and Paysandu, in Uruguay. At the time, Jan De Nul’s cutter suction dredge (CSD) Kaerius extracted 555,000 cubic meters (about 725,000 cubic yards) of sediments at the Casa Blanca section in the Uruguay River after three weeks of work. CARU expects the soon-to-be-contracted dredging project to be ended by the end of this year.


Both the governments of Argentina and Uruguay announced a tendering for a new dredging phase at the Martin Garcia channel. According to the Rio de la Plata Administrative Commission (CARP), a binational agency, the tendering is for the deepening and maintenance dredging of the Martin Garcia channel, whose depth should now increase to 34 feet (10.36 meters) and to 38 feet at its hard bottom, as previously reported late last year by IDR. At the time, Felipe Michelini, the president for the Uruguayan delegation at CARP, said the entity was expecting to open a new bid “soon,” following the signing of a deal by CARP, and Boskalis was to dredge the same channel. Boskalis began dredging the channel in October last year and should complete the project by June of this year. The contract signed in October 2016 aimed to recover and keep the navigability of the deep waterway that cut through the otherwise shallow Rio de la Plata at 32 feet or 9.75 meters. The Martin Garcia channel is the entry to the Uruguay River. Its counterpart, the Emilio Mitre channel, accesses the Paraná river from the Buenos Aires entrance channel.

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