Port operators International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and PSA International (PSA) have formally opened the US$550-million Puerto Aguadulce, their joint venture terminal in the Port of Buenaventura, Colombia.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos led the inaugural rites of the first phase of the world-class multi-user container and bulk-handling facility that can service mega container vessels and is seen to further spur the Colombian economy.
The first phase of the terminal project features two container berths that have an annual handling capacity of 550,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). The terminal had its soft opening late in November last year, servicing its first container vessel, the MSC Sasha.
Features include state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment, cutting-edge operating systems, and top-of-the-line facilities and infrastructure. Equipped with neo post-Panamax quay cranes and the latest in port technology, the terminal can service new-generation container vessels with capacities of up to 18,000 TEUs.
In addition, the project will operate a bulk terminal with a proposed capacity of two million tons annually.
Puerto Aguadulce is operated by Sociedad Puerto Industrial de Aguadulce, the joint-venture company of ICTSI and PSA. The port is strategically located in the port city of Buenaventura, Colombia’s sole maritime trading gateway to the Pacific, and the first port of call for southbound services to and from the West Coast of South America.
ICTSI and PSA signed the agreement to jointly develop, construct, and operate the terminal and its ancillary facilities back in September 2013.
“It is very important to have dreams and (having dreams) is more satisfying when they become reality. This is what we are doing today (as we) inaugurate this port,” President Santos said.
He added, “We are stimulating foreign trade with many countries to exploit the full potential we have. We have the vision to have a competitive country, to be a food pantry for the world and this port will be a very important link. All that awaits you is more business, more profit, because if you do well, the country is doing well.”
Santos was joined by Vice President Germán Vargas Lleras, Valle del Cauca Governor Dilian Francisca Toro, and Buenaventura Mayor Eliécer Arboleda, along with other port sector and infrastructure leaders, Compas shareholders and executives, and community leaders.
“We have always been bullish on Colombia and believe that its economy is a key driver in pushing the Latin American market into the future. Exports from Colombia such as coffee and sugar remain in high demand,” ICTSI executive vice president Martin O’Neil said.
“We at ICTSI want to be a partner in the country’s economic journey by offering top-notch port equipment, facilities and technology to facilitate this growing economy. This new terminal is also a positive proof of the successful collaboration between foreign port partners and local stakeholders. For that we would like to thank the government for entrusting us with the privilege to build a vital facility,” he added.
“The opening of Puerto Aguadulce marks an important milestone not only in Buenaventura but in the entire Colombia. The terminal is ideally positioned to be a hub for international trade. It was built and designed to meet the current and future requirements of customers and partners, with whom we are going to work with to offer high levels of services and productivity,” Puerto Aguadulce chief executive officer Miguel Abisambra said.