Nine are national and the rest foreign. The term of the “short tender” is for 180 days, while the national government defines the promised “long international tender”.


The General Ports Administration (AGP) launched the government’s ongoing bidding process to award the dredging works of the trunk waterway (VNT) due to price competition and for an initial period of 180 days. The so-called “short tender” will define the company in charge of dredging and maintaining the navigability conditions of the waterway from January to September 2022, pending the “long international tender” that will designate the future private concessionaire of the most important river corridor in the country.


Once the contract that had been in force since 1995 with the Belgian group Jan de Nul and the local Emepa ended, the government of Alberto Fernández granted the AGP the “temporary concession” of the waterway for a period of 12 months that began to run from September 11, together with the state collection of tolls.


The state does not have dredgers, nor its own equipment and much less time to reorganize the transitional period, so it decided to get out of trouble by keeping the companies that made up the outgoing operator standing. It did so through two direct contracts signed with Compañía Sudamericana de Dragados (CSD) – Jan de Nul’s local company – and with Emepa SA, which will run until January 20, 2022.


After the direct hiring of CSD, the AGP launched a public tender to select the operator that should take over the dredging post in the second half of January and the call aroused the interest of 15 local and foreign companies that seek to keep the VNT maintenance works, officially valued at 97 million dollars.


In the foreign bloc there are the Dutch Boskalis and Van Oord, the Chinese CCCC Shanghai Dredging Co., the Danish Rodhe Nielsen and the Belgian Dredging International NV and of course Jan de Nul.


While among the national ones, what attracted the most attention was the appearance of Emepa. Associated with Jan de Nul, Emepa was part of Hidrovía SA, the private concessionaire that for 26 years was in charge of dredging and marking the inland waterway by collecting tolls from shipping companies. The local flag roster was completed with Dragados Argentinos SA, Pentamar, DyOPSA, Servimagnus, Argenmar, Dredging International Argentina, Marítima Maruba and Sabavisa.


The rules of the bidding game provide that companies may carry out the work with their own or rented dredges that are both under national and foreign flag. The bidders who propose the use of equipment registered under the Argentine flag will have an advantage over those who have or rent foreign dredgers and will be able to keep the works even if their prices are 5% higher than the lowest offers.


Although the initial duration of the contract was set at 180 calendar days that run until mid-July of next year, the AGP technicians left the door open to be able to extend that term for as many months as necessary in case the delivery is delayed. International tender that has to be carried out by the new National Entity for the Control and Management of the Waterway to choose the private concessionaire that, in theory, should take over the waterway in September of next year