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Dredging Roundup / LATIN AMERICA June 2015

PUERTO RICO

Business Wire reports that residents living along the Caño Martín Peña canal in San Juan, Puerto Rico, waded into the canal and began symbolically dredging it by hand to get the attention of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Leaders of the residential group that organized the action say the Corps has been delaying approval of the feasibility and environmental compliance documents, slowing the process of getting the waterway cleared. The canal has been clogged and threatens homes with flooding in heavy rains. The plan being considered by the Corps would dredge it, thereby reconnecting it with an estuary that would provide for drainage and also improves the channel’s ecological health.

PERU

A plan to dredge part of the Amazon River and its tributaries in Peru has been halted until indigenous groups that live along the waterways can be consulted, reports Indian Country Today Media Network. A Peruvian court stopped the $64 million project, which would have dredged shallow places along the waterways to form a more navigable “hydrovia” between Peru and Brazil. But indigenous groups claimed that dredging could disrupt their fishing and spiritual practices. The court will require consultation with the groups before moving forward with the plan.

ARGENTINA

The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC) will host its “Smart Rivers 2015” conference in Buenos Aires this September. The annual conference attracts professionals, experts and technicians who focus on river transport; it is the first time the international conference will be held in Latin America. The conference is being organized by the Argentine section of PIANC. It will include two days of workshops, technical sessions and an exhibition salon with stands. Among the topics will be the depth maintenance and operational administration of waterways.

ARGENTINA

The province of Buenos Aires made plans to resolve a three-year-old debt with Jan de Nul, thereby making way for future dredging projects in the port of San Pedro on the Paraná River, according to Argentine publication Vision Regional. The Port Authority of San Pedro had owed Jan de Nul $500,000 since 2012, when the Argentine currency began declining. After negotiations, officials from Buenos Aires, the port’s home province, agreed to take on the debt and pay it off. Once the debt is resolved, the port can again be dredged to 8.7 meters (28.5 feet) in September or October. The agreement was proposed in late April and was expected to be signed in May.

PANAMA CANAL

The dredging for the Panama Canal expansion is complete, but that doesn’t mean there has been rest for the dredging division of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). IHS Maritime reports that the division is now focused on a project called “Gamboa 300,” which will widen a stretch of the canal from 225 meters (738 feet) to 300 meters (984 feet). The project will require the excavation of 1.8 million cubic meters (63.6 million cubic yards) of dry material and the removal of nine million cubic meters (318 million cubic yards) of dredged materials. The job is slated to be done in 2017, and is employing all of the ACP’s dredges. Meanwhile, the ACP announced that the last of the 16 gates in the new locks has been installed. That gate was among the heaviest, weighing 4,323 tons and measuring 57.6 meters (189 feet) wide by 10 meters (33 feet) deep and 33 meters (108 feet) high. The occasion marked 88 percent completion of the expansion.

COLOMBIA

As Colombian officials continue to try to make the nation’s most important river navigable, companies Kiasma and Odebrecht have signed a cooperation agreement for the job. Odebrecht received a contract from the Colombian government to dredge 908 kilometers (564 miles) of the river over the course of 10 years, removing 2.3 million cubic meters (81 million cubic yards) of dredged material. Its subsidiary, Consortium Navalena Construction, has entered into a cooperation agreement with Kiasma, which will provide the HDPE floating pipelines with Kiasma’s KFC system. The pipeline was scheduled to begin shipping from the port of Venice to Cartagena in May.

URUGUAY

Dredging has begun on the third of six sections of the Uruguay River, in a project that will deepen the important waterway to 25 feet and allow more ships to traverse the river with cargo. Uruguayan newspaper La República reports that the president of the Administrative Commission of the Uruguay River, Gastónn Silbermann, announced the progress. He said the Uruguayan Administration of Ports’ dredge is currently working on both dredging and bathymetry of Paso Márquez Superior, one section that needs work. The six sections are all between the port cities of Nueva Palmira and Fray Bentos. Paso Márquez Inferior and Medio have already been dredged, and Punta Amarilla, Punta Caballo and Punta Barrizal must still be completed. About 500,000 cubic meters (17.7 million cubic yards) of dredged materials will be removed in total.

CHILE

The dredge Ernesto Pinto, owned by the government of Chile, has been repaired, and will return to dredging the rivers in the Valdivia region and the bay of Corral, according to Chilean news source Radio Biobio. The dredge had gone out of service at the end of last year while it was only 42 percent done with the dredging jobs. The dredge will remove silt from the river and bay and return them to a 3.8 meter (12.5 feet) depth. The Chilean Public Works Ministry said it would complete the work in 16 months.

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