The head of Brazil's Special Ports Secretary - SEP, Pedro Brito, and consortium Draga Brasil have signed a 200mn-real (US$112mn) dredging contract for the port of Santos.
The works involve deepening the access channel from its current depth of 12.5 to 13.2 meters to 15m and widening it from 150m to 220m at its narrowest point.
Some 13.6M m3 of sediment will be removed with another 7.7M m3 to be removed later to maintain the depth.
Two large boulders totaling 33,360m3 will also be removed. Work should be completed within 12 months, according to a Port Authority release.
The project will enable simultaneous two-way navigation along the channel and the port will be able to receive vessels of up to 9,000 TEUs.
As a result, the port's capacity - already Latin America's biggest - will be increased by up to 30%, according to Brito.
"This is a priority project as 27% of the country's imports and exports pass through the port of Santos," said Brito.
The port will have the capacity to receive post-Panamax vessels which are over 280m long and 42.8m wide, with drafts of up to 13.5m and weight of up to 70,000t.
The project is being funded by the federal government via SEP. It falls under the national dredging program (PND) and the country's growth acceleration plan PAC.
"The dredger will arrive in Santos within 45 days," said the their spokesperson.