Açu Port

The largest port in America

The project involves building an extension onto the Açu Superport, located around 300 kilometres north of Rio de Janeiro. According to projections, Açu will be one of the largest ports in the world and the first on the American continent with a capacity to handle 350 million tonnes per year. Its primary function involves exporting liquid and solid bulk cargo.

The contract consists of building the TX-1 terminal of the Brazilian Açu port, located in the municipality of São João de Barra (north-east of Brazil), an area where 85% of the country's oil and gas is produced. The works harbour, a berthing area that has already been built, will also create more berthing areas in the sheltered part of the new dike.

FCC is the leader of the consortium carrying out this complex civil engineering project, demonstrated by its sheer magnitude. The project involves building a 2,438 linear metre caisson quay which involves producing and anchoring 47 reinforced concrete caissons, and also a 600 metre sloped dike. The large caissons vary in length between 45.10 and 66.85 metres, with a 24 metre beam and moulded depths between 18 and 29 metres. Their weight varies between 8,800 and 16,800 tonnes.

Due to the complexity of the new dike, its first nine caissons were built in Algeciras (Cadiz where the facilities required to carry out this task were available. These caissons were transferred from Algeciras port to Açu in semi-submersible vessels in a journey that took 15 days, covering 4,300 nautical miles (equivalent to 7,960 kilometres) between both ports.

The contract for the project works also includes other activities such as the preliminary dredging of the seabed, with a volume of 4,100,000 m3 - reaching an average depth of 31 m, the superstructure works to finish the dikes (harbour wall, capping beam and slab) and providing nautical equipment and buoys.

The material used to build the port was extracted from the Itaoca quarry, property of Ferroport, located 70 km away.

The port is within the Industrial complex of the Açu Superport, an area spanning 90 square kilometres, equivalent to 2.5 times the size of the island of Manhattan. It will have two 17 kilometre quay terminals and 40 mooring berths that will be able to receive ships with up to 400,000 tonnes of cargo (including iron, oil, steel, coal and granite).

The new facilities will also enable vessels known as Capesize, with a capacity of 220,000 tonnes, to berth. The new Açu Superport will have significant potential for the oil and gas industry due to its proximity to the Campos Basin, one of the greatest crude oil production areas in the country. Upon completion, the port is expected to handle 350 million tonnes per year.

Remarkable aspects

  • It is set to be the largest port complex in America and one of the most important in the world, with the main aim of moving liquid and solid bulk.
  • Its first nine caissons were built in Algeciras port in semi-submersible vessels in a journey that took 15 days, covering 4,300 nautical miles.

Client: Ferroport, a joint venture between Prumo Logística and Anglo American

Start date: 2013

End date: 36 months