Colombian minister of transport, Natalia Abello Vives, and Dutch minister of infrastructure and environment, Melanie Schultz van Haegen jointly launched the Colombia Plan Maestro Fluvial at the naval base in the port of Barranquilla, Colombia on 3 September 2015.

The plan is a Colombian-Dutch co-production that focuses on the connection of inland waterway transport, especially to road transport. Furthermore the plan aims to strengthen an institutional framework and to combine navigational waterways and inland ports with flood protection, nature development and spatial planning.

Dutch minister Schultz van Haegen visited Colombia leading an economic mission with representatives of 17 Dutch companies and organisations involved in integrated water management.

The companies included Arcadis, Van Oord, Twynstra Gudde, Hitec, Deltares, IHC Merwede, Damen, Boskalis, Strukton, OMA, Volker Stevin, Royal HaskoningDHV and Witteveen + Bos.

dws-ienm-colombia-river-plan-schultz-abello-vives2-350pxMinisters Abello Vives (right) and Schultz van Haegen during the joint presentation of the Plan Maestro Fluvial at the naval base in Barranquilla.

Connection of all transportation modes
"This plan will be supplementary to the Intermodal transport master plan, to be launched in November, and allows waterways to be part of multimodal transport, so that in the next 20 years Colombians can count on all modes of transportation, " said minister Abello Vives, who mentioned the experience of the Netherlands in the construction of sustainable systems and multimodal transport.

Dutch minister Schultz van Haegen said she was honored to work together with Colombia on developing this plan to create optimal circumstances for the development of river transport in Colombia.

Beyond navigable rivers
Schultz emphasised the importance of the plan: "River transport doesn’t stop with navigable rivers. It’s a start! Intermodal transport is essential to connect all the areas. We have to take care of excellent connections between all modalities, especially road transport. Otherwise our efforts will fail."

Schultz praised the Colombian-Dutch cooperation: "Not only the project was financed in equal part by our two countries, Colombian and Dutch companies also worked closely together combining all the knowledge available in Colombia with the Dutch expertise. That is exactly the way I think we should work together to make this projects successful".

dws-ienm-colombia-river-plan-map-magdalena-350pxConsortium Cormagdalena has been contrated to make the Magdalena river better navigational over 900 km.

Centerpiece of national policy
The national government earmarked 2.4 billion dollars for a portfolio of 13 projects for improving navigation on rivers and improvement of inland ports. One of the projects concerns the Magdalena river.

The Brazilian-Colombian consortium Cormagdalena was awarded a 1.3 billion US dollar contract in September 2014 to make 900 km of the river navigational.

An other project is Canal del Dique for which the Dutch firm Royal HaskoningDHV was contracted in 2013.

The investment in waterways is part of a centerpiece of a national policy by president Juan Manuel Santos. When he became president of Colombia in August 2010 he promised that investing in upgrading transport infrastructure would become one of the 'motors' of his country’s economy.

This news item is based on publications on the websites of the Colombian ministry of transport, consortium Cormagdalena, Dutch embassy in Colombia (all in Spanish) and Holland House Colombia.

Read also on this website
Colombian and Dutch governments sign MoU on clean rivers and water treatment, 1 September 2015
● WCDRR 2015: Colombia, Japan and the Netherlands take lead in global advocacy of river deltas, 17 March 2015
● Royal HaskoningDHV wins major flood control contract for Canal del Dique, Colombia, 6 August 2013
● Colombian dike inspectors very enthousiastic about training Deltares with serious game Levee Patroller, 24 July 2012
● Country: Colombia

More information
Ministry of Infrastructure and the environment
The Hague, the Netherlands
+31 77 465 67 67

Ministerio de Transport
Bogota, Colombia
+57 1 595 35 96

Dutch embassy in Colombia
Bogota, Colombia
+57 1 638 42 00

Holland House Colombia
Bogota, Colombia
+57 1 744 95 66