Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Sunday that the government will allocate $1.3 billion from the national budget to recover the navigability of the important Magdalena River that runs through the country.
Speaking from the Caribbean port city of Barranquilla at the mouth of the river, Santos announced that the Council for Fiscal Policy had approved the allocation for the development project along 435 miles of the river and that bidding for the work would open May 7.
According to the president, the “assuring the navigability of the Magdalena” from the central municipality of Puerto Salgar in the state of Cundinamarca to the coast would allow the river to be used as a major transportation waterway 24 hours a day and at half the cost.
According to Santos, by 2018 the development will allow the city of Barranquilla to receive and mobilize twice amount of the cargo than the amount being processed today, the newspaper El Heraldo reports.
According to the Mayor of Barranquilla Elsa Noguera, the coastal city at the mouth of the river will benefit most from the project, the newspaper El Heraldo reported.
“One of the main barriers for Colombian products to successfully penetrate international markets is that our prices are not competitive, because the cost of internal transportation is very high,” she said referring to the difficulties faced by the country’s transporters due to the mountainous geography and poor road infrastructure.
“But when we use the Magdalena river instead of roads the country will experience significant savings that will make us very competitive. Barranquilla […] will become the large platform of logistic services and will be the main beneficiary because of investment and the generation of more jobs in port activities. It will provide more opportunities for our people,” Noguera added.