Cuban Port Mariel Waiting be Main Link with Widening of the Panama Canal
Strategically located between major trade routes, it will bring a great benefit from its geographical position when normalize trade relations with the United States
The container terminal in the port of Mariel, Cuba, aims to become the best choice of transshipment in the region from the expansion of the Panama Canal, said last week one of its managers in the 12th Panama Maritime that analyzed the impact of this expansion, according to Mundo Marítimo information gathered from the EFE agency. The projections of the modern Cuban container terminal, opened operations in January 2014, were analyzed in a panel on the future of the port sector once finished the expansion of the Panama Canal works through a new set of locks.
Commercial director of the container terminal of Mariel, Marcelo Lluveras, emphasized the importance of expanding the panamanian seaway and the opportunity afforded to all ports that have created conditions. The expansion project of the Panama Canal, which started in 2007, due to be finished in October 2014, but delays that are blamed, one to the other, the consortium contractor (GUPC) and the administration of the inter-oceanic way (ACP), postponed the We have a privileged situation geographic, actually we are in the center of all routes that pass, whether from Asia, Europe and the coasts, East and West of Latin Americaopening until April 2016. It was after the announcement of the Panama Canal expansion when Cuba defined a comprehensive policy of development of the country and created the Special Zone Development of Mariel, said Marcelo Lluveras. He explained that this special area seeks to increase the commercial exchange of the island with the outside and has as a main user the container terminal of Mariel, hoping to take advantage of its geographical position and the expansion of the Panama Canal. Mariel terminal, according to Marcelo Lluveras, “has possibility of connection with everyone from the expansion of the Panama Canal” and its geographical position “facilitates the export towards the Caribbean and to the east coast of North American the production to be performed in the special development zone. In that sense, Marcelo Lluveras stated that the vision in the future is the foothold and “be to our customers the best choice of the port of international trans-shipment in the region”. “We have a privileged situation geographic, actually we are in the center of all routes that pass, whether from Asia, Europe and the coasts, East and West of Latin America”, said the sales manager of Mariel container terminal.
The first stage of the new Cuban container terminal, which had Brazilian financing, is the heart of the Special Area of Development of Mariel (ZEDM), created with the aim of becoming one of the economic engines of the island and a focus of attraction of foreign capital. Railroads, warehouses, travel, channels, bridges and railway stations are some of the infrastructure of the project in the port of Mariel, located 45 kilometers west of Havana. The construction of the terminal by the Brazilian company Odebrecht has meant a total investment of $957 million, of which approximately $682 million of funding comes from the National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES) of Brazil. For the second stage, it is expected that Brazil provides, in addition, $290 million in financing, according to official data.
Mariel container terminal has the ability so they receive Post-Panamax ships, which doubles the capacity of the current and from the expansion of the Panama Canal may make use of the inter-oceanic.
Cartagena does not see it as direct competitor
For his part, Marketing and Sales Vice-President of Cartagena Port (Colombia), Giovanni Benedetti, said that Mariel has very good opportunities, and that the first stage of these will be positive “for the sake of openness that Cuba wants to do”. Benedetti noted, on the other hand, that the geographical position of Mariel is rather distant from Cartagena, Panama and Jamaica, which said not to see “a more direct competition”, and that, if necessary, follow “much closer” any further development, especially in Santiago de Cuba that Mariel at this time. According to Giovanni Benedetti, what really prevails in Mariel plan “rather than port is the subject of the great free zone which has more than 2,000 hectares in theory”. “Then a way to break the blockade is not leaving that goods flow to Cuba, but rather to install foreign companies in Cuba so there go to abroad”, said. Giovanni Benedetti believes that this is a “very interesting strategy” of the Cuban Government to invite foreign companies to settle “so not only supply Cuba, but from there they export”.