Barges able to navigate the Paraná river again, helped by Itaipu’s open spillway

May, 27, 2020 Posted by datamarnews

Week 202023

The step taken by the Itaipu hydro-electric power plant last week to open its spillway to help vessels navigate along the drought-stricken Paraná River, has had the desired effect.  According to Paraguay’s Center for Maritime and River Shipping Lines, the first of the 152 barges that had been stopped for more than 50 days in the country due to the low level of the Paraná River, were able to move again. The river has recently been at its most critically low level in the last 50 years.

The entity explained that there are still around one million tons of soybeans waiting to be transported via the Paraná River.  It said the country would now be able to use barges to receive fertilizers and fuels, which were previously received via ships along the river, but had started to be transported via road when the river level dropped.

It is through the Paraguay-Paraná waterway that a large part of agricultural production in Paraguay and Argentina passes through the ports of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, on the River Plate.  The spillway should remain open until the end of May, which releases an average of around 8,500 cubic meters of water per second. According to the Itaipu Plant, opening the spillway is not affecting energy production because its demand has fallen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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