Dutch dredging majors Van Oord and Boskalis have been awarded a contract by Brazil’s Ministry of Transport, Ports and Civil Aviation for capital and maintenance dredging at the Port of Santos.

The trailing suction dredger Lelystad is seen in the Port of Santos

The joint venture project in South America’s largest port has a total contract value of some €110 million.

Studies will be undertaken over the coming months and the design of navigation channels and berths in the port will be reviewed. Subsequent dredging operations will commence later this year, with completion expected in 2018. The joint venture partners will deploy various trailer suction hopper dredgers and a backhoe dredger.

Van Oord has carried out more than 40 dredging and marine construction projects along the Brazilian coast, including maintenance dredging in the Port of Santos in 2013. The company is currently executing dredging works to deepen the Piacaguera River, which runs behind the Port of Santos, in order to create access for larger vessels to stimulate Brazilian exports.

The ports of Brazil are responsible for 90% of the country’s total exports, handling one billion tonnes of goods per year. These exports are an important driver for Brazil’s future growth. The Port of Santos handles almost 30% of the country’s foreign trade, exporting goods such as grain, fruit, iron ore, oil and fertilizers.

By Larz Bourne