Invías launches bidding process to increase shipping on river Meta

Monday, January 16, 2006

Colombia's national highways administration (Invías) has begun 10 bidding processes for works to regain the navigability of the Meta river, one of the country's most important waterways, an Invías official said, confirming a report in newspaper Portafolio.

The projects, which will involve the investment of 45bn pesos (US$19.8mn), include the construction of the Cabuyaro dock (estimated at 2.2bn pesos), as well as expansion of the docks at Puerto Carreño (3.9bn pesos), and waterfront facilities at La Banqueta (6.2bn pesos).

The channel of the river will also be altered in a project estimated to cost 11.3bn pesos, in order to make it more amenable to river barges, according to the director of infrastructure at the transport ministry, Juan Manuel González.

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The calls for tenders will be closed January 31 and the works themselves are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of this year, according to information on the Invías website.

In total the rehabilitation of the 850km-long river Meta as a shipping route will cost around US$100mn, although at present around 1Mt/y of agricultural produce, coke and steel are already transported on this route.

The works on this waterway have been highlighted by the government on various occasions, given the vast potential of the river, which flows across Colombia's eastern plains before joining the Orinoco, South America's second longest river, which discharges into the Atlantic Ocean.