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Bahía Blanca is an important commercial and industrial center in the south of the province of Buenos Aires. It has a population of about 286.000 and is also the southernmost important city in the fertile Pampa. The most important industrial activities are the petrochemical industry fed by oil and gas ducts from the Neuquén and Patagonic basins, and the agroindustry, provided by the rich agricultural and cattle-raising neighboring zone. To a lesser degree the foodstuffs and fish processing industries are also prominent. A traditional point of distribution towards the south and southwest of the country, Bahía Blanca has excellent road and railway connections. Five highways connect the city in all directions as also do the Ferroexpreso Pampeano and Ferrosur Roca railways. The ports of Bahía Blanca and Talcahuano (Chile) are connected by highway Nº 22 and by the Ferrosur Roca railway (with truck transfer from Zapala and Lonquimay) which form an inter-oceanic corridor. The Comandante Espora airport is served by daily domestic commercial flights.

General description:

The port known collectively as Bahía Blanca, comprises two ports under the administration of a consortium (Consorcio de Gestión del Puerto de Bahía Blanca), both at the estuary´s end on the northern side, as encountered: Ingeniero White and Puerto Galván. Also in the northern side but not belonging to the Bahía Blanca port, we can find Puerto Rosales and Puerto Belgrano, the latter being the country´s principal Naval Base. There are plans to build a new grain terminal, near Piedra Buena berth.

Vessel Traffic System (VTS):

The estuary is under surveillance by means of a Vessel Traffic System (VTS); two radars covering the channel feed raw data to the system, which monitors vessels´ entries/departures. VTS also provides updated information on channel buoys condition and actual tide (VHF #73).

Entrance Channel:

The channel, from the fairway buoy to Puerto Galván is 53 miles long and 190 m wide and commences at buoys 01 (pair), located at 39º24´S 061º 29´W and 26 miles SSW of the Recalada Light House (039º 00´S 61º 16´W). Vessels proceed up the channel without a pilot as far as buoy 11.

Anchorages:

If there is no pilot on station, vessels must anchor eastwards of buoy 11. Agents should be consulted regularly as to availability of pilots, least depths to be encountered, permitted drafts as also number of vessels anchored awaiting berth. A shift of anchorage from buoy 11 to the inner anchorage at buoy 17, if so required, can be arranged with pilotage assistance. Inbound vessels may also be required by Prefectura Naval (Coastguard) to provisionally anchor at buoy Nº4.

Restrictions in channel:

At present the following regulations apply whilst navigating in the estuary channel. 1) Maximum permitted LOA 275 m; (ship LOA 268, beam 41m and loading 100.000 tons has berthed); draft 13,70 m. (NOTE: actually, propane gas ships LOA 284 metres operates during winter at Mega) 2) U.K.C. not less than 10% of draft at all times. 3) Maximum speed within port area 6 km/h (3 knots). 4) “Bravo” anchorage reserved for departing vessels drawing over 10 m. 5) “Delta” anchorage reserved for tankers waiting to unload at SPM buoys or for vessels over 10 m draft awaiting favorable tide. Traffic control is exercised by Prefectura Naval Argentina (coastguard) station.

Tugs:

Private towage companies offer their services as follows: Trans-Ona SAMCIF 4 main tugboats (plus 1 minor tug available) Ona Don Vicente: 3.600 HP -Ona Temple: 3.200 HP-Ona Titán: 2.500 HP Antares Naviera 4 main tugboars (plus 1 minor tug available) Tehuelche I: 3600 HP – Pampa V: 3600 HP – Ultramar X: 2000 HP – Huracan: 1600 HP.

Pilots:

Normally pilots embark, disembark at buoy 11.

Berth assignment:

5-2 days pre-advice to authorities required.

Priorities:

Puerto Galván. 5/6: Passenger & container vessels respectively.
Tanker berth Nº2: Gas tanker vessels.
Terminal B.Blanca, Cargill and OMHSA berths normally used only for purpose for which intended.

Dry-docking facilities:

As mentioned in “Puerto Belgrano”.

Transport:

Regular air serviced to/from Buens Aires. Air taxi services available. Regular bus services tu numerous destinations. Rail; regular services to Rosario (grain) by FEPSA and Buenos Aires-Rio Negro by Ferrosud.

Bussines Hours::

Port Administration 0700/1900
VTS Permanent shift
Coastguard 24 hs
Health Dept 1300/1800
Banks 1000/1500
Shops 0830/1200, 1500/2000, 0830/1230 sat
Stevedores 0700/1300, 1300/1900, 0700/1300 sat,
other overtime

Hotels:

Available all year round.

Medical aid:

Available from 7 hospitals and 2 private medical emergency services.

Bunkers:

Stocks available locally. Can be supplied by truck or barge. 3 working days pre advice required. At Puerto Galván Nº 1 tanker berth bunkers can be supplied by pipeline.

Density:

Varies slightly with tide and berth but usually 1,025.

Divers:

Available for underwater inspections, photography, repairs. Cleaning of marine growth can be arranged.

Electricity:

Available through Port Administration from quay or by hiring mobile generators.

Fenders:

Fitted to all berths.

Fresh water:

Available from quay or water barge.

Fumigation:

Specialized firms offer services.

Garbage:

Subject Customs House formalities. Refuse skips can be hired.

Gangway watchmen:

Compulsory for all foreign flag vessels over 2000 GRT. Watchmen at Puerto Galván entitled travelling allowance.

Repairs:

Various workshops available for usual naval/electrical repairs.

Safety equipment:

Various authorized firms offer services.

Salvage:

Local tug boats can provide off shore deep sea assistance at about USD 1000 per hour but there are no local salvage companies.

Slops:

Reception of small amounts can be arranged. Early advice required.

Stores/victuals:

Available. Paint and spares should be ordered in good time.

Warehousing/storage space:

Port Administration has 800 sqm bonded warehouse available at Ingeniero White plus 1 warehouse, 1026 sqm covered area at Puerto Galván. Open storage is available at Ingeniero White and Puerto Galván.

Average loading rates :

Grain Cdte Luis Piedrabuena 1000 TPH
Grain berths 5/6, 7/8 1500 TPH
Grain 9 1800 TPH
Grain Cargill 2400 TPH
Vegoil Cargill 1200 TPH
Grain Galvan 2/3 1600 TPH
Pellets Galvan 2/3 750 TPH
Vegoil Galvan 2/3 900 TPH
Pallets 180 per gang per 6 hour shift
Chemicals 150 TPH
Crude Oil 300/800 CBM PH
Distillates 400 CBM PHç
Fuel Oil 300 CBM ph
Liquid Gas – Posta 2 300 CBM PH
Frozen fish 80/100 ton per gang per 6 hour shift
Eucalyptus Logs 100/120 ton per gang per 6 hour shift
Liquid Gas – Mega 2000 CBM PH
Gasoline – Mega 1000 CBM PH
Urea – Profertil 1250 TPH
Liq. Ammonium – Profertil 500 TPH

Trade:

14,7 million tons were handled in 2011, including grain and by-products, crude oil and by-products, fertilizers, polyethylene/PVC, liquid gas, fisheries and gencargo.