International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and PSA International (PSA) have formally opened Puerto Aguadulce, a joint venture terminal in the Port of Buenaventura, Colombia with His Excellency, Juan Manuel Santos, President of the Republic of Colombia, leading the inaugural rites.

The first phase of the USD550 million world class multi-user container and bulk handling facility can handle mega container vessels with capacities of up to 18,000 TEUs, and is seen to further spur the Colombian economy. Puerto Aguadulce is operated by Sociedad Puerto Industrial de Aguadulce, the joint venture company of ICTSI and PSA.

Aguadulce Container Terminal, Buenaventura, Colombia - Image courtesy of INVIAS

"It is very important to have dreams and is more satisfying when they become reality. This is what we are doing today to inaugurate this port," says President Santos.

He adds: “We are stimulating foreign trade with many countries to exploit the full potential we have. We have the vision to have a competitive country, to be a food pantry for the world and this port will be a very important link. All that awaits you is more business, more profit, because if you do well, the country is doing well.”

President Santos was joined by Vice President Germán Vargas Lleras, Valle del Cauca Governor Dilian Francisca Toro, and Buenaventura Mayor Eliécer Arboleda. Other important guests include port sector and infrastructure leaders, Compas shareholders and executives, and host community leaders.

“We have always been bullish on Colombia and believe that its economy is a key driver in pushing the Latin American market into the future. Exports from Colombia such as coffee and sugar remain in high demand. We at ICTSI want to be a partner in the country’s economic journey by offering top-notch port equipment, facilities and technology to facilitate this growing economy. This new terminal is also a positive proof of the successful collaboration between foreign port partners and local stakeholders. For that we would like to thank the government for entrusting us with the privilege to build a vital facility,” says Martin O’Neil, ICTSI Executive Vice President.

“The opening of Puerto Aguadulce marks an important milestone not only in Buenaventura but in the entire Colombia. The terminal is ideally positioned to be a hub for international trade. It was built and designed to meet the current and future requirements of customers and partners, with whom we are going to work with to offer high levels of services and productivity,” says Miguel Abisambra, Puerto Aguadulce CEO.

Aguadulce Container Terminal, Buenaventura, Colombia - Image courtesy of INVIAS

One of the leading port groups in the world, PSA brings to the table its complementary strengths and years of industry experience to ensure the success of the Aguadulce Port Project. ICTSI and PSA signed the agreement to jointly develop, construct and operate the terminal and its ancillary facilities back in September 2013.

The terminal had its soft opening late in November last year, servicing its first container vessel – the MSC Sasha with outstanding productivity levels.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos with Puerto Aguadulce CEO Miguel Abisambra during the inauguration

Puerto Aguadulce features state of the art cargo handling equipment, leading edge operating systems and top-of-the-line facilities and infrastructure. Equipped with neo post-Panamax quay cranes and the latest in port technology, the terminal can service new generation container vessels with capacities of up to 18,000 TEUs.

Under its first phase development, the terminal has an annual handling capacity of 550,000 TEUs operating two container berths. The bulk terminal, on the other hand, will have a capacity of two million tons annually.

It is strategically located in the port city of Buenaventura, Colombia’s sole maritime trading gateway to the Pacific, and the first port of call for southbound services to and from the West Coast of South America.

Source: ICTSI