Jorge Sarmiento, Cementos Argos, provides details on a port expansion project in Cartagena, Colombia.
The port expansion project currently being carried out by Cementos Argos in Cartagena, Colombia, is due to start up during the fourth quarter of 2021. This means that the company’s dream of exporting its products on a much larger scale and serving markets beyond the countries in which it operates, is finally coming true. With this project, export volumes of both cement and clinker will reach up to 2.5 million tpy, which in turn will allow Argos to serve new markets in Houston and the South East (United States), Puerto Rico, Central America and the Caribbean. This represents an increase of 126% compared to the port’s current capacity.
In addition to demonstrating Argos’ commitment to constantly delivering innovative solutions to its customers, this project has allowed the company to help drive development throughout the Caribbean region by investing almost US$42 million in new port infrastructure, which has had a significant impact on the neighbouring communities given the number of jobs that have been created during its construction. Once completed, an estimated 750 000 man-hours will have been invested in the form of direct jobs, including the company’s own employees as well as those of the contractors used, thereby providing employment to around 1200 people throughout the entire project.
This project is being carried out at the port facility in the Argos Free Trade Zone, which is situated in the Mamonal Industrial Zone in Cartagena. The project is bordered on its north side by the port’s existing dock; to the south by Brujas Island, to the west by the bay of Cartagena and to the east by the Mamonal Highway and the Argos Production Plant located in the Free Trade Zone.
This new project includes berthing infrastructure in the form of a new pier measuring 152 m long by 18 m wide, from which vessels with capacities of up to 60 000 deadweight t can be handled by means of controlled berthing manoeuvres. This will allow nautical manoeuvres to be safely carried out without any interference with or from neighbouring terminals.
Additionally, there is a 170 m long access gateway, which has a tripper band system and a state-of-the-art, fully automated ship loader. This system will be linked up with the cement plant by means of a one-kilometre-long conveyor.
It will also have belt conveyors that will connect the new dock with two existing clinker silos, each with a capacity of 40 000 t, while an alternate system will connect up the existing battery of export cement silos, with a total storage capacity of 60 000 t. The portion of the structure that is under water has, among other systems, a cathodic protection system, which guarantees its conservation and extends its lifespan by at least 20 years.
The new terminal will operate in parallel with the existing dock through which Argos’ Free Trade Zone has been exporting products since 1977. In terms of capacity, this new terminal will offer a loading rate of 1200 tph for cement and 900 tph for clinker. Upon completion, the project will have used more than 10 000 m3 of concrete, equal to three Olympic-size swimming pools, together with 1200 t of reinforcement steel, 5 km of piling, and around 2658 t of equipment and metal structures will have been installed.
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