Port of Guaymas - Basal ReinforcementPort of Guaymas - Basal ReinforcementPort of Guaymas - Basal ReinforcementThe Port of Guaymas functions as a shipping, manufacturing, commercial, and tourism center. It lies on the shores of the Gulf of California on the Pacific Ocean in Sonora, Mexico.
The port’s major exports include sulfuric acid, copper, wheat, and other regional crops. It is currently the fastest growing seaport in Mexico. Planned expansions will extend the port into the bay between Guaymas and neighboring Empalme.
The first of a two-phase port expansion plan was approved to meet the growing demand for containerized cargo handling to add to and diversify the port’s traditional agricultural and mineral bulk markets.
This first phase of expansion consisted of dredging the seabed, followed by construction of 10 terminals. The second phase of construction consisted of a new container terminal and multi-use terminal.
Whenever construction is carried out upon soft or unstable ground, there is the possibility of differential settlement or collapse. This risk was evident at Guaymas beneath the pavements and loading zones in the port storage area.
Soft foundation soils have always been a challenge to geotechnical engineers and typical solutions such as phased construction, excavation/replacement or grouting are often used. The use of geosynthetic materials is growing for basal reinforcement to enable platform construction. This solution spreads loads upon the existing ground efficiently and for long-term performance.


Project client, API Guaymas, selected Maccaferri’s ParaLink® geogrid for the basal reinforcement solution.
The performance of the platform was dramatically enhanced by the introduction of high-strength ParaLink® geogrids, inserted in layers within the construction. The geogrid absorbs, spreads, and dissipates the loads from above, reducing the risk of differential settlement of the soft soils beneath.
The geogrid must develop high tensile resistance at low strains and offer minimal creep over its long design life.
The use of this approach provided a cost-effective and simple to install alternative to the expensive options of excavation/replacement of unsuitable foundation material, or a staged construction approach. Reducing the import of quality fills, and the export of waste excavated materials also reduces the quantity of vehicle movements on local roads, reducing the environmental impact of the solution.
Bi-directional geogrids are impractical in basal platforms, as the bond length required between adjacent rolls to maintain transverse tensile resistance is often greater than the width of the roll being laid. Therefore, two layers of uni-directional geogrids, laid perpendicular to each other, is more technically and cost efficient.
ParaLink® geogrids are unique, planar structures consisting of a mono-axial array of high-strength composite geosynthetic strips. Each longitudinal strip has a core of low-creep polyester yarn, encased in a tough, polyethylene sheathing. When installed, it provides ultra-high unidirectional strength in soil reinforcement.
For the Port of Guaymas reinforcement, 600 and 400 kN/m strength geogrids were supplied.
Listening to and developing an understanding with a client’s challenges is essential to good business and successful, economical engineering design. Strong communication with the client enabled us to optimize the design and provide the port with a concise, cost-effective, faster-to-install solution.
More than 28,000 m2 of ParaLink® was installed in four layers with a depth of 1.2m of granular material. The final layer provided the pavement construction/loading area slab.
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