Port of Montevideo: Physical Infrastructure



The Port of Montevideo is located on the shore of the River Plate at latitude 34º55’S and longitude 56º14’W. Except for the hydrocarbon terminal, which is located to the north of the bay, the current port facilities are located in the eastern coast of the Bay of Montevideo. However, there are projects for developing new facilities in the northern and western sides.


The 1,300-meter Western Breakwater and the 900-meter Eastern Breakwater (Sarandí) protect the port from the SW (pampero) winds and the S and SE winds, respectively. This protection is reinforced by an offshore breakwater located right in front of the operating quays.


The water area of the port is divided into three basins (River Basin, Basin I and Basin II). The land area, which is mainly for operations, covers approximately 110 hectares, and there are ongoing projects to continue its expansion.


 The overall quay length will exceed 4,500 meters in the short term.


The road vehicles enter and exit the port area through two access gates (Maciel Gate and Florida Gate). As part of a project to rationalize vehicle circulation within and around the port area, a new gate (North Gate), which is expected to be fully working soon, has been installed for certain cargo categories.


In several quays and paved areas, there are connections to the railway network.



Dredging works


The National Ports Administration (ANP) is implementing an ongoing dredging program in the access channel, the outer harbor and all the port basins to make the arrival and berthing of large ships possible.


For this purpose, ANP has a fleet of dredgers and auxiliary ships, duly maintained and periodically modernized, which are used for carrying out most of the necessary dredging works. In order to complete such works, specialized international companies are hired.



Terminal Cuenca del Plata (TCP): 


State-of-the-art facilities for containers.


The Terminal Cuenca del Plata (TCP) in Montevideo is dedicated to container operations. It is located next to the harbor entrance and it has been operating since 2002. Currently, it is the most advanced container terminal in the region.


The following figures summarize the new profile of the terminal:


*Overall mooring quay length of 638 meters, of which 350 meters will allow operating ships with a maximum draught of 14.5 meters after carrying out dredging works.

*Overall expansion of 30 hectares of the land area.

*Seven gantry cranes, of which four are recently built Super Post-Panamax cranes equipped with two twin-lift spreaders each, allowing them to lift four containers at a time and operate with ships that have a breadth of 22 rows of containers.

*A modern fleet of 28 computer-controlled straddle carriers for the operations at the container yard, plus eight stacker cranes for empty containers and four reach stackers with telescopic boom.

*2,700 reefer plugs.

The facilities and equipment updating implies a significant improvement in the terminal operation.


* Annual handling capacity of 900,000 TEU.

* Productivity doubled in terms of containers handled per meter of quay and per hectare of land.

* Handling rate of 100 containers per ship and per hour.

All these factors help shortening the vessel stay at the terminal, thus reducing costs and enhancing TCP's reputation.


The terminal, which is connected to the national railway network, also offers a logistics centre of 1,700 m2 for stuffing and stripping containers, as well as facilities for cleaning and repairing containers and for handling containers carrying hazardous materials.





The design of the Port of Montevideo is significantly changing and its capacity will considerably increase thanks to several developments and projects.


There are five ongoing key projects:



1 Construction of the multipurpose Dock C and dredging of the maneuvering area at the Port of Montevideo


On February 4th, 2015, Dock C was inaugurated. Said dock is a concrete platform of 332 m of length and 45 m of width located perpendicularly to berths 10 and 11, 208 m to the east of the end of Dock 11. 


The structural system is based on a highly rigid reinforced concrete slab supported by 228 concrete piles with a diameter of 1 meter distributed in 4 rows, which are embedded in the bedrock at a depth of at least 1.6 meters. It also includes a system of head beams of 1.5 m by 1.5 m placed transversely to the berthing line every 6 m connecting a line of 4 piles.


The dock structure is suitable for the operation of specialized equipment to handle the traffic of containerships, bulk carriers and multipurpose vessels.


The reclaimed area next to the dock extends between the inner side of the dock, the current shoreline and the south end of Dock 1 with a total extension of more than 40,000 m2. Said area was paved with vibrated concrete cobblestone.


The construction works included the installation of bollards and elastic fenders, rails for gantry cranes, electrical installation (electric power transformation substation), plugs in the docks to provide electricity to the vessels, lighting system in the paved area, wiring and cabling for the communication system, sanitary facilities, gray and black water management system, supply of drinking water and water to extinguish fires as well as storm drains.


Dredging of the maneuvering area of Dock C implies the deepening of Basin II to 10.5 m from the Hydrometric Plane of Reference (PRH), so that the vessels operating in the dock can perform entry and exit maneuvers.


In order to carry out the construction works, all the corresponding steps were taken so that DINAMA granted the Project Classification and the Prior Environmental Authorization.



2 Land reclamation and construction of North Gate


In the northernmost point of the port's customs area, 13 hectares have been filled in order to create a new access for cargo, a transportation corridor and other facilities, such as a parking lot for trucks, areas for cargo control and other ancillary services.



3 New terminal for forest products and solid bulks


The terminal is located in the north end of the port area near the Colombia street gate. This is a dedicated terminal for chipping, handling, loading and unloading wood chips and bulk products in general.


The infrastructure project includes:


* Berth dredged to 12 meters of depth for deep-draft vessels.


* Wood chipping plant.


* Paved area of approximately 11 hectares (5 of which should be reclaimed from the sea) where the wood chips will be stowed for its subsequent shipping.


* Conveyor belt for loading bulk products.


* Buildings for offices, substations and area for storage of wood logs.


The terminal is being built entirely with private investments resulting from an international public tender. It will be operated under a concession agreement for 20 years by the winning bidder.


This terminal will allow the National Ports Administration to use an idle area, to reclaim land from the sea and to provide infrastructure for loading and unloading bulk cargo (conveyor belts, berth, cranes, warehouses, etc.) that will be used by ANP without any expenditure.


The location of the terminal in the north end of the port area, next to the future main access, will prevent moving most of the bulk cargo which currently circulates in the port area, thus avoiding problems such as airborne waste, truck congestion, etc.



4 New Fishing Terminal – Capurro Port and paved area for trucks


The aim of the project is to build port infrastructure at a new location for the fishing fleets that usually operate at the Port of Montevideo. In that way, there will be more room within the port area for commercial operations and the development of other port infrastructure projects.


Said location is suitable due to the geotechnical conditions, which minimize the volume of soft soil to be dredged where the island will be erected and allow the initial dredging of the basins to be carried out removing only soft soil. Besides, it does not require the construction of an access channel since the one for the La Teja oil refinery will be used.


Overview of the Basic Project:


*Overall quay length of 1140 meters made of reinforced concrete slabs with longitudinal and cross-sectional beams, with upper limit at 4.50 Wh, on piles of 900 mm of diameter every 6 meters in both ways, embedded two meters into the rock.


*Area filled up with sand to obtain an “island” of 3.5 hectares.


*Connection bridge of 7 meters of width on 900 mm piles every 6 meters.


*Dredging to -7 Wh and -4 Wh.


*300 H fenders every 6 meters of quay.


*Mooring bitts for 50 tonnes every 12 meters of quay.



5 New logistics complex: Punta Sayago Logistics Port 


The area of the Punta Sayago Logistics Port is part of the expansion initiative by the National Ports Administration to complement the land area of the Port of Montevideo.

Located on the western side of the Bay of Montevideo, it is part of the port and logistics hub of Montevideo.


The objective of this project is to increase the capacity of port infrastructure and to improve the logistics efficiency of the National and Regional Port System. 


In an area of 100 hectares, linked to the road networks and a nearby railway network, three operating systems will be developed: free port, free trade zone and industrial park.


The activities to be developed at Punta Sayago under the Free Port system could add value to the goods through warehousing, repackaging, rebranding, classification, grouping, ungrouping, stuffing, stripping, handling and fractioning operations.


It is an opportunity for logistics companies and investors to be located in a new distribution hub that will facilitate the entry and exit of regional or international goods via Uruguay, thus strengthening the Port of Montevideo as a hub port.


Main advantages:


* Reorganization of the Port of Montevideo to address the growing movement of cargoes through the development of an intermodal platform for port logistics activities.


* Strategic location at the port and logistics hub of Montevideo.


* Design according to the urbanization of a logistics activities center.


* Generation of positive synergies due to the concentration of value-adding activities.


* Optimization of land entry/exit operations in the port area.


 * Access to ancillary services for the development of logistics activities.


* Increased collaboration and complementarity among the companies belonging to the logistics hub.


* Unified management of the port area.


* Facilitation of professional training and business modernization.


* Channeling of trade flows through the use of proper infrastructure.


* Greater visibility for companies, thus improving the image of the logistics activities.


* Free Port system, which allows more flexibility for handling cargoes and trading with tax exemptions.




It will be connected by seaways, rails and roads in order to efficiently handle the cargoes.  


* Direct connection to the approach roads to the city and the Montevideo Port Terminal.


* Interconnection with National Routes 1 and 5, which link the rest of the country with the hinterland of the Port.


* Direct connection to the ring road of the city, which links National Routes 5, 6, 7, 8, 101, 102 and Interbalnearia.


* Connectivity to maritime transport, Ro-Ro system.



Maritime Access


The port access channel is 42 km long and 11.0 meters deep. The harbor entrance has a width of 320 meters, measured between the ends of the breakwaters. Within the port, a branch of the channel leads northwards to the hydrocarbon terminal. Currently it is being dredged to reach -12.60 meters throughout its length by the end of 2015.





Bunkering is carried out by tanker trucks and barges.





Within the port, currents do not exceed 0.1 to 0.2 knots. Outside the port, the maximum current speed is 3 knots.





The Aeropuerto Internacional de Carrasco, with multiple international connections, is located 23 kilometers away from the Port of Montevideo.