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Published: 18 December 2008
Itajaí flood update
A consortium led by Chinese dredging company Shanghai Dredging Company has won the Reais17.5M (US$7.228M) contract to carry out the emergency dredging for the flood-stricken port of Itajaí in Brazil's state of Santa Catarina
|Inspecting the flood damage at Itajai. (Photo: Rob Ward)|
The emergency dredging contract is part of an overall package of US$350M earmarked for the port’s reconstruction by national president Lula through Emergency Decree No. 448. Showing the high priority of the project, Lula has visited Itajaí twice already this month.
Shanghai Dredging Company, part of the massive CHEC group, is represented in Brazil by CHEC Dredging. Local members of the emergency dredging consortium are Empresa Industrial Técnica SA and Pavimentação Engenharia e Comércio SA.
Brazilian ports minister Pedro Brito promised that the emergency dredging would be carried out as soon as possible after visiting the port, where last month 122 perished in the worst floods for more than a century (http://www.worldcargonews.com/htm/w20081129.952686.htm).
After the Itajaí Acu river channel was closed for nearly three weeks, container terminal operations began during the middle of last week with the call of the 516 TEU capacity PAMPERO, operated by Zim Line.
PAMPERO was followed by three more small containerships, but vessels have been operating with a draft of just 7.1m, compared to more than 10m before the floods.
This week the CSAV RAPANCO called to unload 426 containers. That was the first deepsea container call since the disaster, which saw the river rip away two of the three container berths and damage other facilities.
Itajaí Port Authority (API) announced that some “tidying up” dredging began at the end of last week using a small jet-water dredger, TOCANTINS, owned by Van Oord subsidiary Somar.
Two larger dredgers, as yet unnamed, are due to arrive within the next week. Together they will remove around 2250 m3 of sediment over the next 90 days and, it is hoped, allow resumption of free passage of vessels with more than 10m draft. The Itajaí channel services the container facilities of Itajaí and Portoanve in Navegantes.
Brito signed the emergency dredging contract earlier last week to relieve the worries of terminal operators APM Terminals (in Itajaí) and Portonave (in Navegantes, just across the River Itajaí-Acu) who were worried that the process might get bogged down in the bureaucracy that slows down funding out of Brasilia.
API officials say that it will take up to three months to get back to “normal operations,” but they hope that as the dredging proceeds, the draft will gradually be increased so that bigger vessels can berth and depart more and more fully loaded.
Brito was back in Itajaí again this week to oversee the recovery plan.