Feasibility of shipping bypass near Itaipu Dam

A shipping bypass next to one of the world’s largest dams, the Itaipu Dam, could significantly boost economic development and help improve sustainable logistics in five Latin American countries. Management company Itaipu Binacional commissioned Witteveen+Bos to conduct a feasibility study for a bypass which employs locks and allows shipping traffic to cross the upper reaches of the Paraná River at the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The second phase of this study has now been completed.

Witteveen+Bos is investigating the technical, economic, ecological and societal feasibility of this bypass over the Paraná River. The study focuses on bridging a height difference of 125 metres – which is possible with three or four locks – and consists of a technical design, an analysis of the environmental and societal impact and an economic cost-benefit analysis.

For the nautical feasibility and fast-time simulations, we collaborated with MARIN, the world’s largest independent research institute in the maritime industry. For transport prognosis, we worked with STC-Nestra/Gistran. For a convoy of two-by-two barges, the bypass is feasible. The second phase, which looked at a three-by-two convoy, produced many recommendations which could ultimately lead to a feasible bypass for this size also. For them to be able to determine this, we provided Itaipu Binacional with recommendations for nautical real-time simulations and other follow-up steps.

The Itaipu Dam is the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world and possesses a unique capacity for the production of renewable energy. It is also considered one of the modern world’s seven engineering wonders. The dam is 7.7 kilometres long, and in 2016 its hydroelectric turbines produced 103 TWh of renewable energy, which is enough to meet 75 % of Paraguay’s national energy needs and 17 % of Brazil’s. 

Share this page