In early 2019, Soletanche Bachy Cimas delivered the completed project to repair and extend 800 metres of quay on the banks of the Magdalena River in Barranquilla for its port and logistics services customer Compas.

This project was structured into two main phases.

Phase 1: Repairs to berths 3 and 4 at the Compas Barranquilla Terminal

Compas is the only port company in Colombia. The company has 6 private terminals on both oceans, and although it continues to deliver strong growth. In order to continue the development of its infrastructures and business development, Soletanche Bachy Cimas carried out its design-and-build repair project in 2018

Having been constructed and delivered at the end of 2015 (by a company other than Soletanche Bachy), but defects in design and quality of workmanship were discovered that prevented its use.

The Soletanche Bachy Cimas design team therefore resized the structure appropriately, and remedial work to the quay was completed within the tight deadline of 5 months.

The work involved:

  • Stripping back the existing structures and recording all the structural damage and failures (anchors, inclusions and dynamic piles loading test, “PDA method” (Pile Driving Analyser)
  • Installation of CFA piles (Continuous Flight Auger) for the front and rear sections of the quay, complete with their respective separation beams
  • Replacement of rusted and/or failed passive anchors
  • Installation of a second level of anchors bar and steel strands
  • Backfill and paving of the quay traffic surface

After completion of dredging operations and a few months of operational use, the settlement and distortion values measured were lower than forecast, confirming the complete success of this project phase.

Phase 2: Following resumption of port operations in berths 3 and 4, work began on extending berths 1 and 2.

For this phase, this design-and-build contract involved extending the quay towards the river to align berths 1 and 2 with 3 and 4, and create a straight berthing line for the full length of the terminal, enabling the customer to get rid of the 100-metre barges it previously needed in order to berth ships. The main challenge to overcome was to execute the works in the shortest possible time with the permanent operation of the existing quay.

Designed by our own design office in conjunction with Berger Abam design office in the USA (now part of WSP), this new quay is consistent with the metal-piled quays built in previous years: driven metal piles, a concrete structure prefabricated wherever possible (pile caps, prestressed beams and prestressed planks fabricated at the PREFA plant in Bogota), and a 15 cm in-situ cast slab. The majority of this work was carried out from the mainland on 2 worksites, each with a lattice boom crane to ensure that operations remained clear of navigational hazards.

Piling operations were particularly challenging and complex due to the variability in soil types along the 350 metres of shoreline, which includes pockets of soft soil and problematic limestone outcrops. Many dynamic load tests were conducted during the project to check pile load bearing capacity.

Every new quay incorporates innovative techniques to boost efficiency; in this case, it was the design of prefabricated transverse beams to incorporate the cantilevered element of the quay defender carrier, with a pre-cast pocket on the right of the pile to take the concrete grouting. The fact that the quay was designed without longitudinal beams was the starting point for this particular advance, which effectively reduced the completion lead time.

Our customer was once again fully satisfied with our work, which required only 45 days of interruption to quay operations in the 5 months our teams were on site. This very low level of disruption was made possible thanks to the design of a barge with temporary fenders, which was installed on the final day of this window beneath the quay under construction and supported by the existing capping beam, and by meticulous phasing of the civil engineering operations, which left a sufficient number of mooring points for vessels to remain alongside during coal loading operations.

This project confirms Soletanche Bachy’s strength in port infrastructure. A unique expertise brought together under the ForSHORE brand, which offers a complete accompaniment to maritime project holders: financing, design, build and upgrade and maintenance.



Main contractor

Soletanche Bachy Cimas