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Colombia Expects Contract to Restore Navigability at the Local Magdalena River

Three different dredging tenders are being carried out to guarantee navigability of the local river tributary

Colombia’s river management authority, Cormagdalena, said it expects a December, early 2018 contract to be signed to restore navigability at the local Magdalena River.

As previously reported by International Dredging Review (IDR), the Colombian authority terminated a USD $861 million contract it had with Navelena, a consortium made up of Brazilian company Odebrecht and the Colombian government Valorcon, to dredge and restore navigability at the country’s Magdalena River.

Cormagdalena unveiled the estimate in late June, as Alfredo Varela De la Rosa became the entity’s new executive director, replacing Luis Fernando Andrade Moreno. 

“We first need to liquidate the former (Navelena) contract. This is something we want to do as soon as possible,” the new executive director said in a video recording, made available in June by Cormagdalena.

As the new contractor for the larger project to restore navigability at the Magdalena River is yet to be known, De la Rosa said dredging works at the river tributary should continue. 

“We need to continue dredging works for transportation purposes and for the sustainability of the river,” he said. 

Cormagdalena told IDR in July two tenders to dredge different parts of the Magdalena River are being managed by Cormagdalena. The country’s National Institute of Roads (INVIAS) is responsible for a third tender. All tenders aim to keep the river’s navigability, until a new contract is signed by the end of 2017 or early 2018 to replace Navelena’s extinct deal. 

The Colombian river authority explained the first tender is for dredging maintenance of the navigable channel of the Magdalena River from the city of Barrancabermeja, in the department of Santander until Pinillos city, in the department of Bolivar. It should be awarded on July 18. So far, four companies are competing for the deal: Panamerican Dredging & Engineering, Dragados Hidráulicos, Consorcio Incomar y Consorcio Dragados Rash.

The second tender, also managed by Cormagdalena, aims to guarantee navigability conditions in the Canal del Dique section of the Magdalena River and should be awarded on July 31.

Additionally, the INVIAS tender aims to guarantee the navigability of the Bocas de Ceniza section of the river until the Pumarejo Bridge, from kilometers zero to 22, in the access channel of the Port of Barranquilla.

“The three tenders will cover the maintenance and dredging needs of the navigable channel (of the Magdalena River) until December, meanwhile a new public–private partnership (PPP) is expected to be awarded between December this year and January 2018,” a Cormagdalena spokesperson said.

Recently, Jan De Nul’s Colombian subsidiary, EDC, successfully completed emergency dredging in three different sections of the Magdalena river. It used its trailing suction hopper dredge (TSHD) Pedro Álvarez de Cabral to remove 343,000 cubic meters of sediments in 61 cycles. The emergency dredging project was successfully completed on May 10.  

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