Press Release

Colombia begins tender for the Magdalena River navigability PPP

Bnamericas Published: Monday, December 27, 2021
Colombia begins tender for the Magdalena River navigability PPP

Statement from the Ministry of Transport

This is a machine translation of the original press release issued in Spanish

The national government, through the National Infrastructure Agency ( ANI ), opened the bidding process for the Magdalena River PPP by publishing the final specifications of this initiative that seeks to regain navigability through the main tributary of Colombia along the 668km long, between Bocas de Ceniza (Barranquilla) and Barrancabermeja (Santander).

“It was a commitment of the national government to advance in this bidding process that is a priority for the region and for Colombia. The river will become the backbone of intermodal transport and the engine that freight transport needed for the country's development. We continue to demonstrate with facts the strengthening of the concessioned transport infrastructure and more with this initiative that recovers navigability along the Magdalena River, ”said Angela María Orozco, Minister of Transport.

The specifications will be published for approximately one month on the State portal Secop I ( ). In this space, the interested parties will be able to know the details of this initiative, and they will be able to make observations or request clarifications, in order to consolidate their respective proposals. Once this stage is completed, the ANI will give way to the presentation of offers from the possible interested parties, to later end the award process.

“We are taking an important step for Colombia to be a leader in the development of sustainable infrastructure, which is the DNA of the Bicentennial Concessions. Projects that respect these four pillars in environmental, social, financial and institutional matters that make them more robust, always for the benefit of those communities that want modern infrastructure projects that improve their quality of life ”, explained Manuel Felipe Gutiérrez , President of the ANI.

The Magdalena River PPP is a fundamental project for the country for many reasons. One of them is that it allows consolidating intermodality, but it also has enormous potential to contribute to the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions. For this reason, the country has prioritized this project within its commitments in the Paris Agreement, as one of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC for its acronym in English).

In fact, freight transport on the Magdalena River has an annual emission reduction potential that is estimated to reach 190,000 tons by 2030. According to estimates, freight transport on the river translates into a reduction in emissions of close to 62% per ton transported, when compared to the emissions produced when transporting goods in other traditional modes.

Regarding this initiative, it is important to highlight that the Magdalena River PPP is a project jointly structured by the ANI and Cormagdalena, under the leadership of the Ministry of Transportation. Likewise, it has had the support and accompaniment of the Inter-American Development Bank ( IDB ), by receiving advice from important national and international companies, such as Durán & Osorio , for the legal component; Ernst & Young , for the financial component; and Environmental Resources Management ( ERM ) and Royal HaskoningDHV , for the environmental and technical component respectively. Likewise, it had technical support from the Universidad del Norte and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute.

About the project

The Magdalena River PPP has estimated investments of 1.53 billion pesos distributed as follows: 0.45 billion in capex and 1.08 billion in opex and within its scope it seeks to recover its navigability with the intervention of 668 kilometers of river, between Bocas de Ceniza (Barranquilla) to Barrancabermeja (Santander).

The project will have 18 functional units and most of the works correspond to hydraulic infrastructure (protection of banks, repair of tajamar, dikes

submerged, shore lining, moorings, among others). Likewise, dredging activities are contemplated, with which it is sought to guarantee service levels along the canal:

  • Bocas de Ceniza - Pimsa: Width 200 - 50 m, Depth 40 - 23 feet.
  • Pimsa - Barrancabermeja: Width of the Navigable Canal 95 m, Depth 7.8 feet.

According to the structuring process, the pre-construction period of the Magdalena River PPP will be 13 months and the construction period 4.5 years. The concession is estimated to have a period of 15 years and 6 months.

This project will benefit populations in 50 municipalities, between Barrancabermeja and Barranquilla, positively impacting more than 1,577,150 inhabitants of six departments. It is estimated that during the construction and operation period it will generate 12,700 jobs (between direct, indirect and induced).

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