COLOMBIA: Recover the Canal del Dique may be a reality

Canal del Dique Foto aérea Colombia

According to El Heraldo, the project to recover the Canal del Dique could become a reality due to the progress it has made since the Vice Presidency of the Republic took on the task of reorienting it to bring it to a successful conclusion. The news outlet also ensures that the ANI’s prior consultations with the communities will begin in August 2020.

The Canal del Dique is a 118 km canal that connects the bay of Cartagena with the Magdalena river in the department of Bolívar, in northern Colombia. Its eastern portion forms most of the border between the departments of Bolívar and Atlántico. The port of La Magdalena is Calama.

Canal del Dique (Cartagena - Rio Magdalena)
Canal del Dique (Cartagena – Rio Magdalena) Image from Google Maps


The most important steps that have been taken with the project APP Restoration of Degraded Ecosystems of the Canal del Dique were known this week, after the President of the Republic, Iván Duque, announced that one of the priorities of his government is the project of the Canal del Dique.

In fact, August will be a key month for the project if it is taken into account that the World Bank will deliver in this period the recommendations on the proposed technical structure, the advances in economic and financial studies and the environmental and social aspects. In addition, ANI is expected to begin the process of prior consultations with communities.

The Vice President of the Republic, Martha Luría Ramírez, exclusively told EL HERALDO that the prequalification began on June 23, when the ‘Data Room’ was published, which contains the technical information of the project and the conditions and requirements. that firms willing to present their “expressions of interest” must comply at the closing hearing to be held on December 16.

The National Infrastructure Agency (ANI) reported in a press release that with the start of this stage interested firms will be able to participate in the process through the prequalification system published in Secop and on the ANI website.

This period includes a stage in which questions related to the project can be asked, which will help interested parties to clarify doubts and collect suggestions or best practices to carry out this project, which is unprecedented for Colombian engineering in the modern era.

After the stage of evaluation of the enabling requirements, publication of reports and response to the observations raised by the interested parties, the pre-qualified conformation hearing will be held, which will be held on February 26, 2021. On this date, defines the final list of interested parties that may participate in the bidding process.

Parallel to the prequalification, a panel of experts will be held in which, based on their experience, the risks identified will be delimited, especially in river issues, which will also apply to the public-private partnership project that is being carried out for the Magdalena River .

This panel will make it possible to quantify the risks in the absence of historical information in Colombia and determine the cost overruns that may occur in this type of project.

Once the prequalification process is finished and with the approvals of the Ministry of Transportation, the National Planning Department, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit and Confis, it is expected to open the bidding process in the first half of 2021.

The Minister of Transportation, Angela María Orozco, has said that “the national government is making progress in consolidating infrastructure projects that benefit Colombians. In this case, 20 municipalities from three departments, Bolívar, Sucre and Atlántico, will have a project that will guarantee navigability, but will also bring connectivity and progress to the region. ”

The project

The megaproject, which has an investment of 2.8 trillion pesos, seeks the active regulation of the inflow of flows into the Canal del Dique and the improvement of navigability between the bay of Cartagena and Calamar, on the banks of the Magdalena river, at 117 kilometers long.

The works include the construction of two systems of locks (Calamar and Puerto Badel), gates (Calamar) and interconnection works between Ciénaga – Canal, along the Canal del Dique, from the Magdalena river to the swamps of Barbacoas and Cartagena.

The project has the support of the World Bank, through non-reimbursable technical assistance cooperation, which allows developing a more robust project.

The interventions planned in this project will facilitate the navigability and transport of personnel and medium / small products, by means of 3×2 design convoy boats – barges with dimensions of 232m long (length) by 32m wide (beam), which can transport up to 7,200 tons of cargo, which is equivalent to 206 tractors of 35 tons each.

In Bolívar, the project will have direct influence on the municipalities of Calamar, Arroyo Hondo, Mahates, Arjona, María la Baja, Cartagena, San Estanislao, Turbana, Turbaco, Soplaviento and San Cristóbal.

While in the department of Atlántico Campo de la Cruz, Candelaria, Sabanalarga, Santa Lucía, Suan, Repelón, Luruaco and Manatí will benefit. And in Sucre it will go through San Onofre. In total, the benefited population will be 1.5 million inhabitants.

The ANI estimates that 7,600 direct and indirect jobs will be generated between 2023 and 2028, and it is contemplated that the majority will be people hired in the project’s area of ​​influence.

What is new is that SENA, within the framework of the Infrastructure Pact, is structuring modules to train Colombian personnel in the technologies and processes that are managed in the river mode.

The objective of the Sena intervention is that when the concessionaire is looking for technical specialization in the river, he will find the expertise in the populations in the area of ​​influence of the project and not seek it outside the country.

Source El Heraldo

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