DREDGING ROUNDUP LATIN AMERICA - September/October 2014
Low river levels in the Rio Magdalena have made the country’s primary fluvial transport system unnavigable, leading to an emergency declaration by the nation’s Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (Ideam) and a contract for expanded dredging on the river, according to Colombian media. The river is no longer navigable for about 10 miles below the port of Barrancabermeja in the region of Santander. As a consequence, at least three barges are stuck and cannot pass. That section of river is commonly used to transport gasoline and hydrocarbons from mining operations. Ideam officials said that the impacted section of river is currently at just 1.37 meters (4.5 feet) of depth; in addition to shipping, the low water levels could be a problem for 100 towns whose water supply depends on the river. In August, transport officials announced they had hired a consortium called Navelena to conduct dredging on the river. The consortium, made up of Brazilian company Odebrecht and the Colombian government Valorcon, was the only bidder on the project, and will be paid $1.3 million to recuperate the navigability of the river.
The Latin American Congress of Ports attracted American company Dredge Yard to its conference in Iguazú, according to a press release by Dredge Yard. The company hoped to showcase its dredging and mining equipment, including its cutter suction dredges and trailing suction hoper dredges, at a stand and sponsorship of the event, as it works to expand business ties to Latin America.
Brazilian dredging company LUSCHI has been hired to dredge the seawater storage Arcelor Mittal canal for steel and mining company Companhia Docas do Espirito Santo (Codesa). LUSCHI will use its trailing suction hopper dredge Giovanella for the dredging and disposal of sediments that have accumulated in the canal, which measures 600 meters long (2,000 feet) and contains about 46,000 cubic meters (60,166 cubic yards) of sediment that must be removed. During the dredging, a geotextile will be placed next to the mining collection station to prevent the entry of suspended particles into the system as the dredging work kicks up turbidity in the water.
Dredging giant Van Oord has been hired to help build a new shipyard and port in the state of Espirito Santo. The new shipyard is being built by Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz, a Brazilian subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine’s Jurong Shipyard from Singapore. Van Oord’s work will include constructing an access channel, turning basin and berths at the new shipyard. The work will require removing some 6 million cubic meters (7.8 million cubic yards) of material by a large cutter suction dredger; sand carriers will remove the dredged material. The new shipyard will be used to build and maintain vessels for the oil and gas industry in Brazil.
The municipal president of Tampico, Tamaulipas has announced a permanent dredging program of the city’s waterways to prevent flooding, according to local news source Hoy Tamaulipas. One of the first projects the city will undertake is the dredging of the Tamesí river, which will directly protect 45 families that live in the Ejido la Isleta neighborhood from flooding, and also ensure the source of water for more than 750,000 residents of the zone. The dredging is expected to remove 500,000 tons of material from the city’s waterways.
Tensions again flared between Costa Rica and Nicaragua over the dredging of the Rio San Juan, which forms their borders, according to Costa Rican publication Tico Times. Costa Rican media has reported that Nicaragua would add 13 more dredges to the two that are already in the river, which Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis alleged would affect water levels in the river and could damage the Isla Calero wetlands. He has asked the International Court of Justice at The Hague to get involved. The court previously protected the wetlands in an international decision that ordered Nicaragua to withdraw dredges from the disputed border territory.
Ecuador says it is moving ahead with its plans to dredge the port of Manta, first to a depth of 12 meters (39 feet) and later to 16 meters (52 feet), according to APM and MundoMaritimo. This project, which President Rafael Correa has advocated for years, will start with a relatively modest investment of $4.2 million. In the first phase the government would hire dredging companies to deepen three berths of 200 meters to 12 meters depth. The long-term vision includes constructing a fourth berth of 16 meters depth, as well as filling 6.7 acres along a dock area for a container storage terminal, the expansion of the breakwater, new dredging of the access channel and turning basin to 14 meters (46 feet), and the construction of two new berths for the industrial fishing fleet. Last year, Correa stated that Manta could handle post-Panamax-plus ships with an investment of $70 million and that the investment would begin in the coming months, but that investment has been slow to materialize.
A line of credit from China following a visit to Cuba by Chinese President Xi Jinping will allow for the expansion of the Santiago de Cuba port, reports MundoMaritimo. The port, which is on the south eastern coast of the island, will be used for international trade. The $100 million investment will create a new 230-meter berth with modern crane equipment, container storage and transport capacity. A rail line will connect the port to the national transport lines. The access channel to the new berth will be dredged to 11 meters (36 feet), which will allow ships up to 40,000 tons. The port has already undergone dredging in the turning basin, interior channel, secondary channels and several berths, all of which would be expanded in the new investment.