FCC is building the expansion of the Açu Superport, which lies about 315 kilometres north of Rio de Janeiro. The project has a price tag of over 407 million euros and a completion period of 32 months. The contract calls for FCC to build Terminal TX-1 in Açu, which is located in São João da Barra, in north-eastern Brazil, an area that produces 85% of the country's gas and oil. The terminal is an extension of a recently built quay that requires a new breakwater before it can be put into operation.
FCC is the leader of the consortium that will be taking on the project, a complex job of civil engineering, as the sheer magnitude of the job shows. A 2,438-metre-long caisson-type quay will be built, which will involve the manufacturing and sinking of 49 reinforced-concrete caissons, plus a 600-metre rubble mound breakwater. The huge caissons are an average of 45 metres long, 24 metres across and 18 to 29 metres deep.
The new breakwater is going to be tricky to build. Its first nine caissons will be cast in Algeciras, Cádiz, because Açu does not yet have the necessary facilities. These caissons will be moved from Algeciras to Açu in semi-submersible vessels. During their 15-day crossing they will cover 4,300 nautical miles (the equivalent of 7,960 kilometres).
The two FCC Construcción-owned floating docks making the caissons, the Mar del Aneto and the Mar del Enol, will make the transoceanic voyage too. Once they have reached Açu, the nine caissons will mark the area where the floating docks will be moored. The construction work on the foundations will be done by a number of vessels, including FCC's split barges Bocami and Acanto.
The contract includes other activities as well, such as preliminary dredging of the sea bottom down to an average depth of 31 metres (4,100,000 m3), construction of the superstructure completing the breakwaters, and the installation of nautical equipment and beacons.
The materials to build the harbour will be mined from the Itaoca quarry 70 kilometres away, which belongs to the client.
The harbour lies within the Açu Superport industrial complex, an area of 90 square kilometres, equivalent to 2.5 times the size of Manhattan Island. It will have two terminals with 17 kilometres of quays and 40 berths, capable of accommodating ships laden with up to 400,000 tons.
The new facilities will make it possible for Açu to receive cargos of iron, oil, steel, coal and granite and will provide mooring for well-known ships such as the Capsize, which can carry 220,000 tons. The new Açu Superport will have a lot of potential for the oil and gas industry, because it is so close to the Campos Basin, one of Brazil's biggest crude-producing areas. Forecasts are for 350 million tons per year once the project is finished.
The new contract was awarded to a company formed by LLX (of the EBX Group) and Minas Río (of the Anglo American Group). LLX belongs to Eike Batista, the eighth-richest man in the world according to Forbes Magazine. Anglo America is one of the largest mining companies in the world, specializing in platinum, diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore and coal, with mines all over the world.