A herculean task: rebuilding Santorini's port

26 August 2019

Santorini Island is one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations in the Aegean sea, believed to be close to the legendary city of Atlantis. Athinios, the island’s only port, has recently suffered operational problems, necessitating extensive rebuilding.


Like many ports on Mediterranean islands, Athinios is small and struggling to cope with the heavy traffic of Santorini’s thriving tourist industry. The EUR 8.4 million rebuilding project, awarded to construction company Eretvo S.A., must therefore be carried out at different stages to ensure the facility can be operational at all times. To ensure minimal disruption, submerged caisson technology is being used for the new quay, using ready-mix concrete provided by our Greek subsidiary HERACLES.


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Caissons are special precast reinforced concrete boxes, often used to provide foundations to maritime structures. HERACLES was chosen thanks to its know-how, experience and its extensive network of plants and terminals strategically located in port areas across Greece.


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“The Group has built significant knowledge in delivering concrete for caissons used for marine foundations. The experience gained in Barcelona, Monaco, Rijeka and Santorini enables us to ensure the success of any demanding infrastructure project of this type worldwide with high-level logistics and quality requirements.”

Attilio Berrino
Maritime International Business Development Manager, from Business Excellence - Infrastructure & International Key Account Management Team

Due to the locally limited working space in Santorini, caissons are precast in Crete’s Heraklion port on a floating platform and towed to the destination on the same facility, after they have been partially submerged just outside the port. The platform can accommodate three caisson units and its transportation to Athinios requires three to four days of navigation in open sea over about 75 nautical miles (140 km).


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Project key figures

  • 7,500 m of concrete for nine caissons of type C30/37 XS3 (EU norms) with plastic fibers
  • 5,000 m3 of concrete for precast blocks
  • Construction began: January 2017
  • Construction ends: September 2019