The christening of the first barge built in Uruguay to transport pulp logs to feed the Montes del Plata pulp mill took place with the presence of President Mujica This first boat, the largest constructed in the country’s history, was named “Playa de Conchillas”.
The river transportation system that will transport part of the wood to Montes del Plata’s pulp mill will consist of four barges and two push tugs that will be operated by the new shipping company, Transfluvial (Nodus, Ultratug and ETE consortium). The same shall then be accounted for almost half of the Uruguayan-flagged fleet.
Transfluvial director, Gonzalo Tapia, explained that the barge was built at the Repair, Construction, and Armament Services Division of the Uruguayan Navy shipyard, with the collaboration of Galictio-Tiferey and the Shipping Cluster.
The barge is the largest ship ever built in Uruguay. It has a length of 90 meters, a beam of 16.6 meters and 4.7 meters draft, it weighs 970 tons and was built in welded steel. It will have a hundred percent Uruguayan crew and it will transport more than 2 million annual tons of logs from M’Bopicuá Terminal in Rio Negro to Punta Pereira, in Colonia.
Each of the barges will have a capacity of 5,000 tons and will be able to move the equivalent load of 170 trucks per trip. Through this transport system, the company plans to move 50% of the wood supply for the plant. This amount of wood means 500 barge round trips per year and would imply 100,000 truck round trips. In terms of emissions of greenhouse gases, the barge transport system emits 14,000 tons of CO2, while the truck system would emit more than 32,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Tapia said we should be proud of the achievement of the Uruguayan shipping industry which was able to build a barge on projected time and costs. He added that on the first months of next year he expected to present the entire fleet and their crews.
Meanwhile, general manager of Montes del Plata, Erwin Kaufmann, said that the barge presented Tuesday 24th July, “represents capital, knowledge and training accomplished for the country.”
Minister of Industry, Roberto Kreimerman, said that this type of venture develops the shipbuilding industry of our country, through the joint support of State and private sector. It also involves the creation of many skilled jobs in a growing, zero unemployment industry.
“New firms installed in Uruguay generate needs that end up creating more novel high-quality ventures, and thus stabilize the economies and structures of our country”, he said.
Kreimerman noted that the shipbuilding industry, strategic for the country’s future possibilities in the area of oil, may generate a complementary economy in agribusiness, and industry knowledge economy based on heavy engineering, which complement a diversified country with better opportunities for the future.