Of the 20 major ports in Latin America, Colon (MIT, Evergreen and Cristóbal) was placed first with 3.3 million TEUs or 20 foot long containers mobilized in 2011, followed by Balboa with 3.2 million and Santos (Brazil) 2.9 million, reported Prensa.com.
In 2011, 41.3 million TEUs were moved in Latin America and the Caribbean, an increase of 11% compared to 2010. Despite the growth, the region maintains its share of around 7% of world movements, according to an ECLAC report.
Last year, global port movement of containers totaled 563.7 million and was led by Asia (excluding China) with 31.1%, 175 million, followed by China with 29.1% (164 million TEUs). In third place is Northern Europe with 62 million TEUs and a 11% stake. Asia (including China) accounts for more than 60% of container port traffic in the world and Europe (including the Mediterranean) 18.2%.
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Panama's Colón and Balboa are first in Central America (2 and 3 in Latin America), followed by Limón in Costa Rica (13), Cortés in Honduras (22), Santo Tomás (29), Puerto Barrios (31) and Quetzal (36) in Guatemala.
The economic crisis in the region last year reduced port activity in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a recent ranking prepared by ECLAC.
In January and February, 190,000 fewer TEUs were moved than in the same period of 2012, when the figure was 1,000,218 thousand TEUs.
"The country's five terminals (Balboa, Manzanillo International Terminal, Colon Container Terminal, the Port Authority of Singapore and Cristóbal) reported one million 28,000 TEU's (a unit equivalent to a 20 feet long container) in the two months," noted an article in Prensa.com.
In Latin America the ports of Colon and Balboa occupy the first and second place in the ranking of volume of cargo moved.
In the Latin American ranking next in the list following the Panamanian ports are the ports of Santos in Brazil, Cartagena in Colombia, and Manzanillo, Mexico.
A $200 million investment has been announced to dredge the access channel, develop a new turning basin, three Panamax docks, more areas for containers and nine gantry cranes.
A press release from the Presidency of the Republic of Panama reads:
The U.S. firm SSA Marine, through its subsidiary Manzanillo International Terminal in Panama, has announced plans to invest more than 200 million dollars in Colon over the next few years in order to expand the range of port services offered by this prestigious company to the shipping line companies.