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Profiting from a bigger Panama Canal

A new marine terminal provides bunkering fuel to support expanded traffic through the canal.

Opportunity

As the volume of shipping through the Panama Canal continues to increase, the need for bunkering fuel grows with it. About eight nautical miles (14.8 kilometers) from the Pacific end of the canal, Isla
Melones was identified as a promising location for a marine fuel terminal.

Solution

Mott MacDonald provided a conceptual engineering design for the creation of an efficient, cost-effective, and constructable marine terminal on the island. We analyzed local currents, winds, and wave heights under normal conditions and during storms, then developed alternative layouts and design-build criteria for bidding.

Outcome

The Isla Melones marine terminal now offers 16 tanks with a storage capacity of more than 2 million barrels. A T-shaped pier allows up to four barges, or one tanker and two barges, to load simultaneously.

The terminal has achieved outstanding loading rates of up to 17,500 barrels per hour for vessels and 3,500 barrels per hour for barges.

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