ForSHORE by Soletanche Bachy Cimas in the Tolú port in Colombia

After Baranquilla’s marine works, more quays in Colombia: Completion of Compas terminal extension project, in Tolú by Soletanche Bachy Cimas.


The Compas terminal in Tolú is located 100km to the South of the city of Cartagena and is currently the nearest Colombian deep water port to the Panama Canal, thanks to its privileged location, the port facility is closer to the country’s main production centers. Its activity is now concentrated on the export of coal and the import of grains, as well as in the mobilization of general and project cargo. In order to respond to the needs and demands of the region’s ports Compas, has invested in adapting the existing quay to receive larger ships and extending the infrastructure to add another berth.

Sheetpiles, piles, retaining wall, pieux battus, dalle en béton

The project, contracted under the modality of design and build, comprises a new platform of 150m x 30m in alignment with the existing quay to accommodate two vessels of the Handymax type simultaneously. The platform has independent access to the continent via an access viaduct 270 metres long and 8 metres wide so that trucks can pass through it in both directions.

The design was produced by the American firm WSP (formerly Berger Abam) coordinated by the technical office of Soletanche Bachy Cimas.

It is a quay of the concrete slab type on vertical metal piles driven into the ground, suitable for dredging to 13 metres. We applied successful experiences from similar projects such as Barranquilla and Aguadulce port in Buenaventura, among others.

Sheetpiles, piles, retaining wall, pieux battus, dalle en béton

As for the existing structure, the oldest part began to be built in 1966 and was extended in various stages up to 1998, with a concrete slab on vertical and inclined piles, for a useful depth of 10 metres. But to accommodate fully loaded vessels, it was necessary to increase the depth to 13 metres, which risked undermining the piles. To avoid this, a submerged sheetpile retaining wall was designed along a length of 190 metres of the quay with a succession of long and short sheet piles in “trouser legs” so as not to interfere with the inclined piles. In order to know the precise position of these piles, under the water, a prior inspection was carried out with underwater sonar to obtain a 3D model of the existing foundations of the quay.

Finally, the opportunity was taken to replace and upgrade the fenders and bollards of the existing quay.

Sheetpiles, piles, retaining wall, pieux battus, dalle en béton

The works were carried out mainly between the months of May and December 2019 (only 5 months for the main works), a successful intervention in extending and retrofitting an existing structure to meet the challenges of Compas over the decades to come.

This new project confirms Soletanche Bachy’s strength in port infrastructure. A unique expertise brought together under the ForSHORE brand, which offers a complete accompaniment to maritime project holders: financing, design, build and upgrade and maintenance.