CARTAGENA, Colombia – The Colombian Caribbean port of Cartagena is undertaking extensive infrastructure and technology upgrades in an effort to be one of the world’s 30 best megaports by 2017, when it will have the capacity to handle up to 5 million cargo containers.
The nearly $1 billion “Mega 2017” project calls for overhauling the port’s facilities in two phases, with officials setting a goal of doubling the number of containers handled by the end of this year.
Achieving the goal would put Cartagena in the same league as the U.S. ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York.
The Colombian port has grown from handling 96,000 shipping containers in 1993, when the Port Authority received its franchise to manage the facility, to nearly 2.3 million containers today.
The port already handles Post Panamax ships, vessels that can carry up to 14,000 containers, and is looking to process cargo faster and more efficiently to boost exports.
The Port Authority plans to build the infrastructure necessary to meet the demands created by the free trade agreements signed by Colombia with several countries, including the United States.
The trade deal with the United States boosted exports of flowers, textiles and oil in its first year. EFE