BMI forecasts growth across the board at Colombian ports in 2014. This will, in part, be due to base effects, as most facilities endured a downturn in volumes in 2013. Shipping sector growth over the medium term will be supported by growth in private consumption on the back of rising wages, and the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, which would see more, and larger, vessels calling at the country's ports. This possibility has piqued the interest of international container terminal operators, such as International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI). Throughput volumes will also be supported by the growing dry bulk export story, in particular coal.
Headline Industry Data
The Port of Cartagena will see total tonnage volume increase by 6.9% to 20.69mn tonnes in 2014, and will average growth of 5.5% to 2018.
Container traffic at Cartagena will grow by 9.1% to 2.03mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2014. Growth to 2018 will average 11.9%.
Volume at the Pacific port of Buenaventura will rise by 2.4% to 9.41mn tonnes in 2014, while container traffic will rise by 3.7%, to reach 503,093TEUs.
Key Industry Trends
Baranquilla Dredged For Bigger Vessels: The port of Baranquilla announced at the end of May that it was capable of handling vessels with a draught of as much as 11 metres (m). Dredging work had been completed by Dutch company Van Oord. BMI believes that Colombian ports are looking to capture increased traffic from the eventual opening of the widened Panama Canal.
Investment Into River Navigability: Juan Michael Santos, the Colombian president, announced in May 2014 that USD1.3bn would be invested into improving the navigability of the Magdalena River. The tender for the work was opened in May, and was scheduled to be awarded in July. The plan is that the first phase of the work - dredging 500km from the river's mouth in Barranquilla to Barrancabermeja - would be completed within nine months from the project's launch.