Ports and Terminals

Underwater tunnel project between Santos and Guarujá advances

Apr, 06, 2021 Posted by Ruth Hollard

Week 202114

This Tuesday, April 6, the Santos Port Authority (SPA) launched a public request for proposals on implementing and managing the underwater tunnel linking Santos and Guarujá. They will be published on the Port of Santos website (www.portodesantos.com.br) within 15 days after receipt of applications. Once authorized, participants will have 120 days to present their concepts to the Port Authority.

The studies must consider the needs of urban mobility between the two municipalities.  The project must serve pedestrians, cyclists, automobiles, and public transport (intercity buses and LRT, for example).

SPA’s CEO, Fernando Biral, considers the work emblematic, given its importance for urban mobility and the Port of Santos. “It is an urban mobility undertaking that, together with the expansion of the capacity of the port perimeter avenues in Santos and Guarujá, has a great positive effect on the traffic conditions of vehicles between the two cities. It will guarantee greater navigation safety, compared to the option of ferry and boat trips, and greater use of the navigation channel, with a consequent increase in efficiency in port operations”.

Bruno Stupello, Director of SPA Business Development and Regulation, explains that the projects received will be part of the SPA privatization modeling. This ensures the tunnel will be made by the future concessionaire, according to an understanding between the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and the Ministry of Infrastructure (MINFRA). “Plan A is for the project to be a mandatory investment by the private concessionaire. But the process could be developed separately if the studies demonstrate that it is technically and economically feasible.” Studies to privatize the Port of Santos are advancing rapidly, and the auction is expected to take place in 2022.

Stupello points out that the project will provide more rational logistics for the region, redistributing vehicle and truck traffic in the urban network. “With the increase in the flow and size of the ships in the navigation channel – recently approved for 366-meter vessels – the perspective is that in the medium term, there will be a reduction in the interval between maneuvers. The submerged tunnel will play a strategic role, contributing significantly to guarantee the safety of navigation in this new scenario and a good relationship between Porto and the cities”, he explains.

It is worth remembering that the road connection between Santos and Guarujá is an old project, which was again the subject of debate in 2019 when the government of São Paulo announced its intention to build a bridge between the two cities. The work would be performed by the company Ecorodovias in exchange for an extension of its concession contract.

The proposal, however, generated strong opposition because a bridge could hinder the traffic and the maneuvering of increasingly larger ships in the port channel. SPA proposed the tunnel as an alternative.

Since then, the São Paulo government and Ecorodovias have reformulated the bridge project to minimize the risk of impact at the port, but the proposal still generates resistance.  Until now, the proposal has not progressed, although it remains in the state’s plans. Controversies between the São Paulo and federal governments continue.

Amid the clashes, companies opposed to the bridge created the “Vou de Túnel” campaign, which rallied container terminals and shipping companies. The group’s spokesperson is former SPA president Casemiro Tércio Carvalho, who led the state-owned company when the bridge proposal came up in 2019.

The announcement and its attachments are available on the SPA website: http://www.portodesantos.com.br/informacao/licitacoes-e-contratos/editais-de-chamamento-publico/implantacao-e-exploracao-de- submerged-tunnel-for-dry-connection-between-the-municipalities-of-santos-and-guaruja /.


With information from Valor Econômico

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