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Thursday, 13 August 2015

APMT invests $200m in Port of Cartagena

Netherlands-based port operator APM Terminals has announced a $200 million investment in the Port of Cartagena, Colombia’s busiest port. The funding will be supplied as part of a joint venture with local firm Compañia de Puertos Asociados S.A. (Compas S.A.).

“Colombia represents one of the most promising investment opportunities in the region and we are pleased to participate in the country’s ongoing economic growth and development. Cartagena has enormous significance in South America ports and this JV underlines APM Terminals growth and investment plans,” Kim Fejfer, chief executive of APM Terminals commented.

The investment will go towards upgrades and new equipment to allow the port to handle post-Panamax vessels and it is hoped that the development will triple annual throughput capacity for the terminal by taking advantage of larger vessels transiting the widened Panama Canal.

The Cartagena terminal is already one of the busiest hub s in the  region with annual throughput capacity of 250,000 TEU and 1.5 million tonnes of general cargo.

APM Terminal’s partner Compas S.A. is joint-owned by Colombian industrial conglomerate Grupo Argos and Southern Port Holding Inc. Alongside several terminals in Colombia, it also operates facilities in Houston, Texas (USA) and Panama.

“Compas S.A. has the service reputation and expertise in Cartagena and Colombia that ideally fits our Latin America partner strategy and port development ambitions. We look forward to working with them on developing the Cartagena terminal further,” Joe Nicklaus Nielsen, Global Head of Container Business Development at APM Terminals said.

Investor interest in Colmbia’s port assets has risen sharply in recent years, driven by strong domestic exports and proximity to the soon to be completed Panama Canal expansion.

Total port investment rose 1.4% y-o-y in the first half of 2015 with key areas of focus including investment of $136 million in development at the Port of Buenaventura, $71 million at the Port of Cartagena, and $70 million for Río Magdalena.

The Port of Cartagena posted annual container volume growth of 13% year-on-year for 2014 and Colombia as a whole handled 3.35 million TEUs, ranking third, in the Latin American region behind Brazil and Chile.

While transhipment is expected to be a key driver of future growth, domestic  traffic has been driven by demand for coal exports which accounted for 41.2 million tonnes of exports or 41% of a total  99.6 million tonnes handled in Colombia’s 12 port zones in the first six months of this year.

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