South American ports need more investment, report says

South American ports require significant investments to improve their infrastructure, enabling them to receive large vessels which are currently navigating the main shipping routes in the world, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The study containing this concern was presented during the opening session of the Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists 2011 Latin America, which takes place through today in Santiago, Chile.

The report estimates that between 2016 and 2019 vessels of on average 13,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (a method for measuring containers) will arrive at the east and west coasts of South America. At present, the largest vessels which reach the ports of the region are no bigger than 8,000 equivalent units and substantial investments will be needed to increase the capacity of shipping terminals, particularly their depth. This will in turn affect port competitiveness and logistic networks in the region, the report said.

The increase in the size of vessels is due to the growing external demand and the global trend of international trade in search of economies of scale and economic density.

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