Technical feasibility study for new port in Magdalena River

For Royal Port S.A., Witteveen+Bos conducted a feasibility study for a greenfield port at the mouth of the Magdalena River, near the Colombian city of Barranquilla. This was done in collaboration with subcontractors MARIN and Antea Group Colombia. Royal Port wants to use the study to obtain the required port concession.

Barranquilla, which lies on the Caribbean Sea, is one of the largest cities in Colombia and does not yet have a port at the mouth of the Magdalena. This was reason enough for Royal Port to commission Witteveen+Bos to investigate the possibilities. Also, additional capacity is needed for both maritime and river-based transloading of wet and dry bulk goods and containers. The new port needs to be suitable, therefore, for both seagoing and inland vessels.

In the project’s first phase, we investigated the technical feasibility. This was supported by layout optimisation, hydrodynamic modelling, and a simulation which demonstrated nautical safety. Our experts in master planning, hydraulic modelling and port structures carried out this assignment in part from the Netherlands and partly from Colombia.

Collecting data was challenging, as the required hydrodynamic and morphological data for the Magdalena River and Caribbean Sea is managed by different institutes in Colombia.

The mouth of the Magdalena River continues to gather sediment and dredging is constantly required for the entire port of Barranquilla. This is also important for keeping access to the envisioned port open.

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