Dredging has started off the Argentine port of Bahía Blanca this week to restore the main channel so that ships up to 45 feet deep or 50 50 feet at high tide can be allowed in.
Ports are vital for an economy where 82% of its exports depend on access to the sea and Argentina is very much in need of alternatives to the Paraná river waterway, which is not fully safe from occasional droughts or inconveniences.
The Bahía Blanca works have been entrusted to the Jan de Nul Group, a world leader in maritime infrastructure. Bahía Blanca is Argentina's third port in terms of storage capacity and load rate.
At this stage, the maintenance tasks include the dredging of the main access channel to the Ingeniero White, Galván and Rosales ports and berths, for which the company has commissioned the Gerardus Mercator and Henri Pitot dredgers, to carry out the works within the terms established in the specifications and conditions.
The Gerardus Mercator is the largest dredge ever to operate in Argentine waters. It will be in charge of carrying out the maintenance works of the main access channel, in the Canal del Toro, Canal Exterior, and Naval de Puerto Belgrano.
Meanwhile, the Henri Pitot will dredge berths from the water injection system, which allows for the displacement of sediments that are then transported by the tidal flow.