Colombia's senate held a public hearing on the troubled project to recover the navigability of the country's main waterway, the Magdalena river, planned since 1991 and considered critical for multi-mode transport.

Construction giant Odebrecht, with an 87% stake in consortium Navelena, which was awarded the concession for the works in 2014, filed paperwork in May to exit the project, as part of the fallout from its involvement in the Lava Jato corruption scandal in its home country of Brazil.

The project calls for dredging and operation of depth monitoring stations, among other works to deepen the bed of the river. So far, only engineering studies have been carried out.

As of June 10, Odebrecht had not yet found a company willing to take on a large part of its 87% stake in the Magdalena project, Reuters reported. The firm had until June 11 to find a buyer, and will be fined US$7,091 a day until financial close is achieved.

At the public hearing, senator Julio Guerra said that Odebrecht's legal troubles in Brazil should preclude the firm from having any stake in the project, as Colombian legislation would forbid it. Meanwhile, senator Álvaro Ashton suggested starting a new process by hiring different firms for the project.


Source: BNamericas