Investments the Ports Need

To solve the congestion problem affecting Guatemala's port network, it is estimated that at least $133 million needs to be invested to improve the operations of current terminals.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The average standard for port operation is on average 50%, however, currently the country is reaching occupancy limits above 60%, which means that they are reaching congested points that make them less efficient.

See "Port Freight: Slight Fall in 2018" and "Losses Due to Lack of Port Infrastructure"

Because of the evident need to improve terminal operations, Ministry of Communications authorities confirm that there is a master plan at Empresa Portuaria Quetzal (EPQ) in Escuintla, as well as at Empresa Portuaria Nacional Santo Tomás de Castilla (Empornac) in Izabal.

Hector Recinos, Vice Minister of Communications, explained that the master plan for the two state ports, whose investment amounts to about $133 million, consists of "... creation and expansion of docks to be executed in the coming years, derived from projections of foreign trade growth."

Also see "Puerto Santo Tomas Loses Competitiveness" and "Guatemala and Honduras Compete for Salvadoran Cargo"

According to the plans, the works for EPQ consist of the extension of the commercial dock to one more berth and the extension of the additional southern dock, as well as deepening works (14 meters) so that they can berth ships with a greater draught.

And for Empornac, cruise ship piers will have to be built, as well as the construction of a specialized container terminal, which is the main cargo being transported.

For Jean Paul Brichaux, representative of the Council of International Transport Users of Guatemala (Cutrigua), the lack of adequate infrastructure is a brake on development, because "... If you come to put a plant in Guatemala to export to other countries and if the ports are already saturated, it can represent a problem or, on the other hand, there are problems because of the global warming in one of the terminals'".

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More on this topic

Improvements in Puerto Santo Tomás Announced

June 2018

Authorities at the Guatemalan port terminal announced that they have solved the container congestion problem reported weeks ago, and have started working on a reengineering process.

Empresa Portuaria Nacional Santo Tomás de Castilla (Empornac) reported that after implementing a series of actions of a logistical nature, they have managed to solve the problem of container saturation in that area, and their operations remain stable.

Losses Due to Lack of Port Infrastructure

May 2018

Only days after two shipping companies announced the partial suspension of their operations in Puerto Santo Tomás, authorities at the terminal reported that 90% of the Salvadoran cargo has been lost.

The president of Empresa Portuaria Santo Tomas de Castilla (Empornac), Bayron Monterrosa, explained that they have lost almost all of the cargo from El Salvador, which represented 20% of the port terminal's operations. 

Puerto Santo Tomás Loses Competitiveness

May 2018

Due to lack of investment in machinery and equipment in recent years and slow loading and unloading of vessels, the shipping company Maersk Line is to partially suspend its operations in the Guatemalan port terminal.

The recovery of some customers and the announcement of a new route between Santo Tomás and Puerto Morelos, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, led to positive expectations weeks ago, but with the announcement of Maersk Line, the outlook is now different.

Puerto Quetzal: Incentives for Intrarrregional Traffic

January 2015

Quetzal Port Company is offering a special rate with discounts up to 50% for ships carrying cargo whose origin and destination is Central America.

This project seeks to promote short sea shipping between the ports of Quetzal in Guatemala, Acajutla in El Salvador, Corinth in Nicaragua and Caldera in Costa Rica, and in this way reduce land freight traffic between countries in the region.