CARU Opens Bid for Dredging of the Uruguay River
By LÉO SIQUEIRA
The binational Administrative Commission of the Uruguay River (CARU) has opened a second bid for the opening, deepening and maintenance dredging of the Uruguay River, between the kilometers 0 to 206.8, including the access channel of the Port of Concepción del Uruguay, on the Argentinian side.
The president of the Uruguayan commission at CARU, Captain Gastón Silbermann, told IDR that several companies are disputing the project, including Jan de Nul, Boskalis, Van Oord, Diosfer SA and Dredging International NV.
The bid was declared empty earlier this year, as the prices asked by Boskalis, Jan de Nul and Dredging International NV, the three companies competing for the bid, were too high for the project.
“The bid was declared empty because the prices they’ve asked were 2.5 times higher than the reference price we had for the project,” Silbermann said.
As a result, CARU released in July a second bid, in which several companies were invited to participate.
A technical secretary at CARU declined to provide the names of all companies disputing the bid. However, he said the bid has drawn interested parties, as several players have sent their questions on the project.
CARU’s technical secretary Marcos Di Giuseppe said the binational entity can’t disclose the names of the disputing companies until October 10 this year.
Silbermann said it’s difficult to estimate a date for a contract to be awarded, as it will depend on the companies’ proposals.
“CARU will oversee the study of the technical and then the economic proposals. And it will later evaluate the results,” the executive said.
Silbermann said the dredging project is seen by CARU as an important way to complement cargo transportation between the ports of Concepción del Uruguay, in Argentina, and Fray Bentos, in Uruguay.
“Dredging will enable both the ports of Fray Bentos and Concepción del Uruguay to operate in a more efficient and complete way,” he said.
Both the ports of Fray Bentos and Concepción del Uruguay have been limited in terms of operation for receiving oversea vessels, as the port’s depths are below desired levels.
“A vessel that today transports 12,000 tons could actually transport 20,000 tons. And if the river levels were higher, a full cargo could reach up to 28,000 to 29,000 tons,” he said.
“This is one of the great goals we have in mind: to improve the operation of the ports in Fray Bentos as well as in Concepción del Uruguay, which is an important port in the Argentinian side with a great potential for production,” he said.
Silbermann said the dredging project was designed to allow Panamax vessels to dock at the Ports of Fray Bentos and Concepción del Uruguay.
The president of the Uruguayan commission at CARU said the current dredging project was designed to some specific sections of the Uruguay River, as other parts of the river already received dredging.
“The most important part of dredging will take place between the kilometers 96 and 187.1, in Concepción del Uruguay,” he said, adding the river should be deepened to 25 feet from the kilometer 0 and to 19 feet near Paysandú, in Uruguay.