International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

A Canadian company has broken into the international dredging market in recent months with a series of contracts it believes will pave the way for bigger ones.

Until last year Ocean Dredging DSM Inc. of Quebec had never taken on a project outside of Canada. However in the interest of expanding its business abroad the company’s sales team traveled to Latin America and began making connections and meeting potential partners according to spokesman Philippe Filion. A trade mission to Guadalajara led by Quebec Prime Minister Pauline Marois helped its cause. Ocean and 55 other Quebec companies who were interested in developing business in Mexico participated in the mission.

At the time Jean-Philippe Brunet vice president for corporate and legal affairs told the daily newspaper Le Soleil that “Mexicans usually don’t deal with people that they don’t know. Ocean is not known to them; a relationship based on trust is not yet established. A partner gives us an opportunity to bid on public tenders in Mexico.”

That’s precisely what happened. Ocean partnered with Mexican firm Dragados del Golfo and in October Ocean announced that the partnership had won a contract to dredge the Port of Dos Bocas in Mexico. Ocean sent its 1180-cubic-meter (1543-cubic-yard) trailing suction hopper dredge Ocean Traverse Nord – the largest dredge ever built in Eastern Canada – on a 20-day voyage from Quebec to Mexico.

The project in Dos Bocas involved removing 250000 cubic meters (327000 cubic yards) of sediment that had accumulated in one of the “two mouths” of the port. The sediment was placed on port property 500 meters (1640 feet) from the dredge site. Partner Dragados del Golfo then managed the dredged sediment spreading the material across the bank.

The initial contract was for 60 days but it was extended to 85 days to complete all work Filion said. The 12-person crew was replaced once a month so workers could return to Canada for rest and to see their families. Overall the project went smoothly and the company received positive feedback from both their partners in Mexico and the contractors.

Initially Ocean had planned to return its equipment to Quebec after the Dos Bocas work was completed but in the meantime it had bid on another contract in Mexico to dredge the Port of Vera Cruz which it won. After awaiting the final contract to come through for about three months it removed 20000 cubic meters (26000 cubic yards) of accumulated sediment in that port work that took 13 days.

“We benefited from the presence of Ocean Traverse Nord in the area to be able to complete another contract in Mexico” Filion said.

By the time that contract was finished two more contracts had been secured – these in the Caribbean nation of Dominican Republic. Those contracts resulted from a separate trade mission to the Dominican Republic held in January.

The first of the Dominican contracts was for the maintenance dredging in the Port of San Pedro de Macoris. The Ocean Traverse Nord was employed to extract 35000 cubic meters (46000 cubic yards) of accumulated sediment a job that began on May 28 and was expected to take 11 to 14 days. From there the vessel was scheduled to travel to Dominican capital Santo Domingo to dredge the port of Rio Haina where 70 percent of the country’s marine transportation is performed. There Ocean will remove an estimated 15000 cubic meters (20000 cubic yards) of sediment.

After that the Ocean Traverse Nord will return to Quebec where it has annual dredging obligations to complete Filion said. But the company hopes to send the equipment back to the Caribbean in the near future.

“These are good developments for us because until now Ocean was not known there” Filion said. “We are hoping this is just the beginning because we have worked hard to get into these markets.”