Growth in shipments was 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 firs six months of the year.
Investment interest in port projects in the country also rose in the first half with growth of 1.4% y-o-y. Key areas of focus included investment of $136 million in development at the Port of Buenaventura, $71 million at the Port of Cartagena, and $70 million for Río Magdalena.
Despite the growth in port traffic export revenues fell, according to national statistics agency Dane. Weak hydrocarbon prices led by a sharp fall in oil prices resulted in a drop of 31% in export revenues to $19.3 billion from $28 billion.
Located close to Panama Canal, the Port of Buenaventura is one of the key projects under development in the country and has attracted investment from South Korea's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) as well as the Chinese and the Colombian governments.
"We will support the Colombian government's port of Buenaventura development by conducting a business feasibility study and establishing a master plan,” an MOF spokesperson commented at the launch of the project earlier this year.
Situated on a key export route from the country's Valle del Cauca district, the Port of Buenaventura handles approximately 60% of Colombia's exports in coffee, sugar, and tannin.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is reported to be stepping up investment in Colombia’s port infrastructure following his visit to the country in May this year. China has invested in the 2,500 acre Buenaventura project and committed some $3 billion to create an industrial complex at the site.
“It is very important to bring investors from the outside because of the magnitude of the program. We don’t have enough equity in Colombia to finance these projects,” said Luis Fernando Andrade, president of Colombia’s National Infrastructure Agency commented.