Posted on January 11, 2023
“We are in the feasibility study phase, which will take place during the first half of the year. Then prequalification would begin in the second half,” Jorge Vergara, head of MOPC’s strategic projects division (DIPE), told BNamericas.
The contract would then be awarded by the next government, which is scheduled to take office on August 23.
It would entail dredging and maintaining the section between capital Asunción and the river’s confluence with the Apa River, which marks the border with Brazil.
Transport on the Paraguay-Paraná waterway is key for the country’s exports, but ships have reported difficulties on some sections due to low water levels and high sedimentation in recent days.
The most affected area is known as the Vuelta Queso pass, near the city of Pilar (Ñeembucú department), where 19 vessels are stranded, with one being stuck in the riverbed, the head of the country’s fluvial and maritime shipowners center Cafym, Esteban dos Santos, told daily La Nación this week.
Since the area is south of Asunción, it would not be covered by the dredging PPP.
MOPC awarded three dredging contracts in November for a total of nearly 373bn guaraníes (US$42mn), one of which will address the issue at Vuelta Queso, the ministry said at the time.
Works are expected to begin this week.
Transport on the waterway is also expected to be hit by a tariff imposed by Argentina, which business groups in Paraguay believe will cost the country around US$50mn a year and has also been criticized in Uruguay.
The 3,300km Paraguay-Paraná waterway connects Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay.