Of this, US$33m is to be provided by the province and the port consortium, while US$59m will come in the form of credit from the Fondo de FinanciaciÃ³n de Ia Cuenca del Plata (Fonplata) which is financed by the governments of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina.
The Minister of Production of Buenos Aires, Debora Giorgi, indicated that, through the investment, “Commerce will be strengthened and local production increased.” The US$33m will be paid by the Ministry of Production to three ports managed directly by the province – Dock Sud, San Nicolas and Coronet Rosales – and to the management consortia that administer the Ports of Quequen, Mar de Plata, Bahia Blanca, La Plata and San Pedro.
The main problem in Argentina’s ports is that of dredging, which is so expensive that the ports cannot provide for it from their own budgets, and government support is needed. Port operators complain that the limited depths of access channels restrict the size of vessels that can be accommodated, and that this in turn is increasingly impeding their future growth prospects. Vessels carrying grain, for example, cannot load to their full capacity without running manoeuvring risks that can also violate rules under the national Port Laws.
In another development, Terminal de Servicios Portuarios Patagonia Norte, located in the southwest of Buenos Aires province at Bahia Blanca, has awarded a 20-year operating concession to Muelle Multiproposito Andoni Irazusta to operate a terminal in Puerto de Ingeniero White. The company will invest a total of US$9.5m in the facility, of which US$2m will be for infrastructure and the rest for equipment. Eighty per cent of the total investment is to be spent in the first year of the concession.
When completed, the facility will comprise a berth 270 m long and 40 m wide, with an alongside depth of 13.7 m, which will accommodate container vessels of up to 3,800 teu capacity. According to the port’s management, meat, leather, fish, dairy products, fruit, vegetables, grains, chemicals, plastics and yarn produced by Rio Negro, Neuquen, La Pampa and other centres in the west of the province will be exported through the terminal.