China bids to dredge and deepen the Parana, Argentina’s grains superhighway

China bids to dredge and deepen the Parana, Argentina’s grains superhighway

Chinese state-owned construction giant China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) is preparing a bid to dredge Argentina’s Parana River, the country’s main cargo superhighway that takes soy and corn from the Pampas farm belt to the shipping lanes of the south Atlantic and the world.

Representatives of CCCC and its Shanghai Dredging unit have met with Argentine government and local port officials in a move that could significantly alter global dry bulk trading patterns.

The Parana carries 80% of Argentine farm exports. The river is currently highly susceptible to weather changes – a drought last year, for instance, saw authorities rule that ships had to lighten their loads along the river by 4,000 tonnes for a couple of months.

The river is mainly used by large handysizes. Ultramaxes up to 66,000 dwt can transit the waterway, but they would need to be half empty.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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