The USTDA awarded several grants to support the expansion of the port sector in Colombia, including one to fund feasibility studies associated with terminal rehabilitation at the Port of Salgar. The port is located along the Magdalena River near the town of La Dorada in central Colombia, and the Colombian government was implementing an initiative to revitalize the country’s main waterways as an efficient mode of commercial navigation.
Consistent with these objectives, Nathan prepared Magdalena River commodity forecasts and market analysis including analysis of cargo volume data, assessment of current usage and capacity of alternative terminals and modes, and calculation of market projections. Key commodities included in the forecasts were dry bulk products such as metallurgical and steam coal, animal feed and grains, fertilizers, and iron and steel products. Liquid bulk products included crude petroleum and petroleum products. The team conducted a market analysis and commodity forecast based on identification of potential cargo and a comparative total transport cost analysis of river, road and rail transport. A barge-costing model was developed taking into consideration river depths and transport characteristics such as river currents, channel width, tow configurations, average operating speed and hours, tons per barge, transfer costs and cost of barge time in port and empty backhaul. The team also calculated cost estimates for improvement of existing facilities, estimated revenue projections for the improved river port and alternative new terminal designs, prepared financial statements for selected project alternatives and identified potential sources of financing.