March 15th – Magdalena Canal, outer River Plate

March 1th 2023

Magdalena Canal, outer River Plate:


National Holidays: Friday March 24th


Grains and Markets:

South Korea (FLC) has confirmed purchase of 68,000 tons maize on late June dates. Origin is optional.

Saudi Arabia has purchased 1,043,000 tons of wheat. 17 Panamax sizes starting late June, ending mid-August. Various origins.

India is expected to import 200,000 tons of duty-free sunflower seed oil up to March 2023 (fiscal year).

Turkey will import 18,000 tons of sunflower seed oil late April.

Israel’s demand for soya beans remains there.

Magdalena Canal, outer River Plate:

The Government has included funding in the budget to commence the survey and initial studies for dredging the new Magdalena Canal in the outer River Plate.

This canal will commence at Kilometer 143.9 of the Canal Punta Indio and will take a southerly course to the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

There is much controversy regarding the construction.

It will require shore infrastructure at the outer end for pilots’ station, the necessary launch services, and a small harbor.

The main proposed advantages are a shorter navigation time for vessels proceeding to southern Atlantic ports (Necochea, Bahia Blanca, Mar del Plata).

There is also a notion that the outer ports on the River Plate, like La Plata, will be favored by the shorter navigation time.

Technical staff, strictly “off the record”, have voiced misgivings as they consider that the consistency of river bed in the area will make the dredging expensive and costly to maintain.


River Parana and River Plate (Santa Fe-Recalada):

The Government has, for the moment, filed any plans to issue a new tender for the dredging, buoying and maintenance of the River Para and the River Plate between Santa Fé (Upriver) and Recalada.

This was a privatized concession managed by Hidrovia SA (Jan de Nul) since the mid-1990s which greatly improved navigation along the rivers. When the concession was eventually managed to expire the dredging was formally taken over by AGP. Nevertheless, the AGP subcontracted the work to Jan de Nul and it has remained that way until the present day.

The success of the improvements is evident in the increased volumes shipped on the back of greatly increased agricultural exports. As always, the greatly increased traffic, the much larger vessels available now a days have produced bottle necks along the system.

It was understood that a new call for tenders would include an expansion, with wider canals, and turning areas to meet traffic demand.

But this has all been carefully put away and all remains the same as before.

Last week there was a strong call by the Private Ports Chamber to start the proceedings for calling a tender, but it appears to have fallen on deaf ears.


The Government’s AGP has only had one initiative, and it to charge a toll to fluvial traffic that navigates the River Parana north of Santa Fé up to the juncture of the River Parana and the River Parana, which is mainly charged to Paraguayan and Bolivian barge trains that navigate that area.


Bunker deliveries at Zona Comun:



As always, the STS operation is up to the discretion of the Master’s of the vessels involved.


Will keep you posted.

Best regards,

Antares Servicios Maritimos S.A.

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