Beach replenishment Brazil

Restoring vulnerable land in Brazil

Coastal regions in Latin America are increasingly being confronted with brutal natural disasters and severe tropical storms. The result? Coastal erosion affecting the beaches as well as the nearby roads. In order to restore these vital connecting roads for the community and the economy, Brazil worked out a maritime solution together with Jan De Nul. A successful formula that would soon be copied.

45 metres of beach added in only 9 weeks

Beach replenishment works in Fortaleza in 2019 kicked off a whole series of such works in Brazil. At that time, we reclaimed approximately 1.4 million m³ of sand over a coastline length of 2 km. In 2021, we added another 2.2 million m³ in the municipality of Camboriu, widening the beach from 25 m to 70 m over a length of 5.5 km. All this in barely 9 weeks’ time. A technical masterpiece the local community had been waiting for for a long time: the beach was in dire need of repair due to the strong tides.

The beach replenishment project in Camboriu was the first project for our new trailing suction hopper dredger Galileo Galilei. This ship dredged sand at 15 km off the coast, brought it to the bay and pumped it ashore through an underwater pipeline. This ultra-low emission vessel with a hopper capacity of 18,000 m³ has two separate hoppers on board. A unique asset: by distributing the dredged material evenly over both hoppers, we can optimally control the load and draught. 

Focus on mobility

By taking a maritime approach to coastal erosion, Jan De Nul avoids transporting heavy cargoes on crucial connecting roads. These roads often suffer from erosion and are therefore in a bad state. That is why in Meaipe we do not only spray sand but also repair and protect the most important coastal road. A newly constructed rock berm and the widening of the beach protect this thoroughfare against violent storms and tides. Further south, in Mathinos, we’ve also started beach replenishment works.

"Brazil is increasingly protecting its coastline through beach replenishment projects and expects transparency on its environmental impact."

Koen Robijns

Area Manager Americas

Koen Robijns

An economic boost

Wider and more resistant beaches not only offer protection against the tides and extreme natural phenomena. They are also an attraction for growing tourism. Employment opportunities within the local communities are increasing, and tourists are more and more easily finding their way to these trendy coastal towns. "That gives a lot of satisfaction to the work we do here”, says Steven De Baets, Project Manager. “The whole community was closely following our works. In Camboriu, two YouTubers even broadcasted the progress on our site day and night, with thousands of interested reactions. Afterwards, I saw on Google Earth how much difference we literally made to this community. That makes me very proud of what we have achieved." 

Jan De Nul is a reliable partner for Brazil in their future-oriented approach to coastal erosion. With a series of beach replenishment projects in progress, in our portfolio and in the tender phase, we are making a substantial difference to the local communities.

This article is an extract from the 2021 activity report.