Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 24

FINDING THE
RIGHT MIX
A Latin American
Port's Perspective
By Tom Hranac
Bay of Cartagena
s container trade volumes and ship
sizes have grown, so too has the
importance of transshipment
hubs in container shipping networks, including those in Latin America. But
it takes much more than location or infrastructure to become a major transshipment
hub - as the Port of Cartagena can attest.
With navigation depths of almost 68 feet and
tidal variations of less than 16 inches, the Port
of Cartagena has numbers that support the
movement of larger container ships, but it has
taken much more than that for the port to
capitalize on these natural assets and make
it the major transshipment hub it is today.
Located on Colombia's Caribbean coast
just outside the hurricane belt 265 nautical
miles away from the Panama Canal, the Port
of Cartagena has been a commercial gateway
for more than 500 years. The port also sits on
a natural harbor seemingly tailored to handle
large ships. But, when the Sociedad Portuaria
Regional de Cartagena was created in 1993
to administer port activities, transshipment of
containers was not a business line. The port
knew, however, that an opportunity existed
in the growing transshipment trade.
The port began negotiating with
two Italian carriers in 1997 to bring

transshipment operations to Cartagena and
gained important visibility as an option for
global shipping lines. Now, transshipment of
containers is the port's main business line
and accounts for more than 70 percent of
all containerized cargo moved through it.
Cartagena has moved more than 2 million TEUs every year since 2013, including
2,560,750 TEUs in 2017. These numbers
have led the UN's Economic Commission
for Latin America and the Caribbean to
consistently rank the Port of Cartagena as
one of the region's top five container ports.
According to Martha Patricia Amor
Olaya, the port's press director, this sustained success in the transshipment business is due in part to the port's focus on
prioritizing customer service and market
analysis, "We've worked hard and closely
with our customers to understand each
other, with the desire at all times to get it
right and improve. We strive daily to always
be their best option. We study the market's
requirements and demands to adjust our
services so that they're exactly what our
customers' need."
Promoting strong relationships and
research has helped sustain Cartagena's
steady growth, but anyone vaguely familiar

with the container market knows that ports
have had to make large infrastructure
investments in recent years to handle bigger
ships and their increased cargo loads. For
transshipment hubs, being able to receive
the largest vessels is a necessity. The Port
of Cartagena is no exception, and its two
main container terminals have the capacity to move over 5 million TEUs annually.
"We receive 14,000 TEUs ships, the
largest that move through our region,
and it's thanks to these ships that cargo
consolidation centers are organized for
transshipment," Amor Olaya said. "To be a
transshipment port, one must be prepared,
have operational capacity, the right equipment and a lot of logistics management.
Upon making the decision (to become a
hub), we've been training ourselves operationally and technologically, and have
invested in equipment, infrastructure
and capacity to always be a step ahead of
industry changes. We were ready before
the opening of the Panama Canal expansion and took advantage of the surrounding
opportunities," she added.
The Port of Cartagena's combinational
approach to container transshipment operations has allowed it to thrive as a Caribbean
hub. However, an important part of this
strategy places an emphasis on looking
toward the future rather than taking comfort in past achievements. "Today, we're
dedicated to providing personalized services to many types of cargoes, from containers full of flowers to containers filled
with coal, something that only a few years
ago was unthinkable. Our goal is to be the
most important transshipment reefer port
in the Americas," Amor Olaya declared. ●

Contecar Terminal Dockside.
ANTON KHRUPIN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

24

AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE



Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Business Boom: Ports Report Record-Setting 2017
One-Sided Investments – U.S. Ports Call for Federal Support of Long-Term Infrastructure Development
Ship Shape: Ports Navigate Their Niches to Find Their Areas of Expertise
Finding the Right Mix – A Latin American Port’s Perspective
Dredging Demands
Water Resources System Integral to Competitiveness of US Economy and Security
Port-Based Welfare Provision: It’s About Collaboration
Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Intro
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - cover1
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - cover2
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 3
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 4
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 5
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - AAPA Headquarters
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 7
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - From the President’s Desk
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 9
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Business Boom: Ports Report Record-Setting 2017
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 11
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 12
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 13
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - One-Sided Investments – U.S. Ports Call for Federal Support of Long-Term Infrastructure Development
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 15
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 16
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 17
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 18
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 19
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Ship Shape: Ports Navigate Their Niches to Find Their Areas of Expertise
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 21
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 22
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 23
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Finding the Right Mix – A Latin American Port’s Perspective
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 25
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Dredging Demands
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 27
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 28
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 29
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 30
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Water Resources System Integral to Competitiveness of US Economy and Security
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Port-Based Welfare Provision: It’s About Collaboration
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 33
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - cover3
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - cover4
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - divider1
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - divider2
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 40
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 41
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 42
Seaports Magazine - Spring 2018 - 43
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