New dredging contract awards for Boskalis

A cutter suction dredger of joint venture partner DEME at work in the Martin Garcia channel

Dutch dredging giant Royal Boskalis Westminster has been awarded a five year contract by the Buenos Aires based Comision Administradora del Rio de la Plata for the capital and maintenance dredging of the Martin Garcia channel.

The contract is valued at some €110m and will be carried out in a joint venture with the Belgium based DEME Group.

The channel is located between Uruguay and Argentina in the northern part of the 50km wide Rio de la Plata estuary. It is the main access channel to Uruguay’s second largest port, Nueva Palmira.

The main objective of the dredging programme is to deepen the canal and subsequently maintain a dredged depth of 34 feet over the contract period.

The capital dredging work will be undertaken this year, when some six million cubic metres of mainly sand and silt will be removed by two trailing suction hopper dredgers as well as another 500,000 cubic metres being removed by a large backhoe. The maintenance contract calls for the annual removal of some five million cubic metres of mainly sand and silt over a subsequent period of four years, to be carried out by a trailing suction hopper dredger.

Boskalis, together with a Cypriot partner, has also been awarded a contract for long term maintenance dredging works in the Middle East.

Boskalis and its partner will develop and build an electrical cutter suction dredger for these works which are due to commence shortly after the vessel is commissioned in 2019. The annual revenue will be approximately €25m over an 11 year period.

The cutter suction dredger will be fully electrically powered through an onshore 33kV power line connection. The 100m long shallow water vessel will have a capacity of 8,250kW, allowing it to pump dredged material over a distance of 7.5km. The investment is expected to be fully recovered over the course of the contract, with the dredger to be transferred to the client upon contract completion.

By Larz Bourne

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