Odebrecht consortium wins $1.3bn contract to upgrade Colombian river

A consortium led by Brazilian contractor Odebrecht has been given civil engineering work worth $1.3bn on the Magdalena River, the largest waterway in Colombia. 

The Navelana consortium, which includes Colombian contractor Valorcon, will improve the navigability of the Magdalena by constructing shipping channels and dredging silted areas over the next 13.5 years. Navelana said the project aimed to increase the river’s cargo capacity from 1.5 million to 6 million tons. 

Cormagdalena, the government agency in charge of managing the river, predicts that the capacity of the river will reach 7,000 tons once once the development is completed.

The Magdalena River

Augusto Garcia, the director of Cormagdalena, said: "This is undoubtedly the beginning of the river’s rebirth and the start of the resurgence of many intermediate cities." 

Navelena has received propositions from local and international banks to finance the project. It will take an estimated 18 months to arrange financing. 

Odebrecht recently announced that it planned to build a natural gas pipeline across the Peruvian Andes by 2017, more than a year ahead of schedule.

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