Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cartagena is the largest transhipment hub in the Caribbean

The Port of Cartagena Group (SPRC) is Colombia’s main export port, connecting over 840 ports in 140 countries making it the largest hub and most connected port in Latin America and the Caribbean.

SPRC operates 3 port facilities and provides a full range of port, transport, and logistics services, as it includes subsidiaries associated to tugboat operations, river & land transportation, cruise operations, stevedoring, and other logistics services representing yearly corporate sales of over $370m and a total container throughput of more than 3m teus.

Volume wise, in 2022 SPRC total throughput was down 6.5% to 3.14m teus going from 3.36m teus in 2021 which was "a very good year". 

 "In general, 2022 was a big mess, we had lot of operational challenges, vessels omitting massively or missing their berthing windows, lots of roll overs, high storage bills….it is a paradox, all these troubles mean money, so financially it was a very, very good year, but for all the wrong reasons!" said Giovanni Benedetti, VP of Business development for the Port of Cartagena.

And to date the paradox continues…"we are doing basically the same overall throughput, but with a difference, imports down 18%, exports about the same of last year, no growth, and transhipment growing again. It seems that this year will end with a new record for our transhipment volumes," notes Benedetti.

Cartagena is Hapag Lloyd's main hub in the region and an important terminal for CMA-CGM, Maersk-Hamburg Sud and for ONE Line. Cosco and ZIM have started some transhipment operations at Cartagena.

While several port operators in the region register blank sailing and service disruptions, Cartagena does not seem affected according to Benedetti.

"As from May 2023, we can now say that most services are running in time and within their berthing window, so stability is good and now carriers have the time to look at their networks and see if there is space for synergies in optimising and restructuring them. As well, some new services are expected to start calling Cartagena as from August and September this year, which will add even more connectivity and volumes to our port and customers.

"We are glad that we have been recognised by UNCTAD for 3 years in row, as the port with best connectivity in the Americas and obtained the fifth place world-wide (First in the Americas) of the Standard & Poors Container Port Productivity Index (CPPI)."

After its expansion, a few years ago, Cartagena has seen constant growth, even during the pandemic, but enlargement is also ‘in constant growth’ and necessary.

’We just started planning and designing a new 230 metre-berth extension for our Contecar Terminal, possibly adding 4 additional gantry cranes to reach a total of 17 and increasing teu capacity by about 1m teus to reach 4.5m teus in Contecar and a combined capacity of over 6.2m teus for our two facilities,’ explains Benedetti.

> For more insights in Latin American ports, read our Latin America Shipping Report 2023

TAGS: Ports