Dredging Suape harbour

The Dutch dredging company Van Oord is active in the Suape harbour in northeastern Brazil, deepening an access channel from the sea to the port, with plans to reclaim land for constructing a huge shipyard.

Both ENDS (Netherlands) cooperates with the Forum Suape in Brazil to campaign for a full environmental and social review of the two Van Oord Suape harbour projects with Atradius DSB export credit insurance.

Suape harbour - history and current situation

Atradius DSB provided export credit insurance for two projects of the Dutch dredging company Van Oord for the Suape harbour authority, in Pernambuco State, northeastern Brazil. The dredging activities for the deepening of the access channel from the outer sea to the port are underway. The dredging and land reclamation activities for the construction of the Promar shipyard inside the Suape harbour complex still have to start. 

November 2011January 2012
Issuance of insurance policy for dredging project Promar shipyardIssuance of insurance policy for dredging of outer sea access channel Suape port

Van Oord projects in Suape

Van Oord has been involved in dredging activities in Suape since 1995, but these two particular projects are the first to receive export credit cover from Atradius DSB. The sponsor of the project is the ‘Complexo Industrial Portuário Governador Eraldo Gueiros’, which is the state owned harbor authority of Suape.

Impacts of the dredging work includes loss of livelihoods for local fishing communities, forced evictions, and the destruction of coral reefs. These problems are envisaged in the context of other problems in the area, related to the rapid industrialization of the Suape harbor region, such as violence, sexual exploitation and the disruption of the social fabric of local communities. The dredging projects suffer from a lack of transparency, particularly vis-à-vis the local communities. The limited public information on the project and the testimonies of people living in the Suape area do not suggest fundamental improvements in comparison to earlier dredging activities in the region.

How are ECAs involved

Atradius DSB has provided export credit cover for two separate Van Oord projects in Suape. The dredging project for the Promar shipyard, which is based inside the Suape harbour territory, was classified as Cat A. The second project, dredging of the outer sea access channel to the Suape port, has been classified as Cat B. Despite the different nature and categorisation of the two projects, Atradius DSB only made the (summary) EIA for the Promar shipyard available to the wider public. 

Recent developments:

From 12-18 August 2012, Both ENDS visited the Suape sea port, some 40 km south of the city of Recife in northeastern Brazil to review the eventual social and environmental impacts of the dredging activities. Following this trip it published a review report in February 2013. This report has been submitted to the Dutch government requesting a full independent review of the projects, as well as a review of the implementation of the CSR policies of Atradius DSB.

Following the Both ENDS visit local organisations in the Suape area decided to organise a local forum of civil society organisations. The launching of this ‘Forum Suape’ is scheduled for March 15 and March 18. Both ENDS is scheduled to join these events.

Both ENDS is concerned that there seems to b a huge gap between the CSR policy of Atradius DSB and its implementation. One the one hand, for example, Atadius DSB reports that they received no comments on the Promar project from local groups, while at teh same time they suggest the responsiblity for consultation with local groups lies solely with local authorities. Contrary to principles of the OECD Guidelines on MNEs, which Atradius DSB refers to, they make no efforts to arrange consultations with local project affected people.

More information

Review of dredging activities for entry channel and harbor basin of Promar S.A. shipyard, Suape, Brazil from Both ENDS (February 2013).





EIA report Promar shipyard: http://www.slideshare.net/vfalcao/rima-promar-211110

Forum Suape: http://www.forumsuape.ning.com


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