The Port of Guayaquil, located in the province of Guaya, is Ecuador’s major port, handling around 75% of the country’s international trade and over 90% of its container traffic. Its annual container throughput is currently over 600,000 teu. General cargo traffic includes the banana trade, in which Ecuador is the world’s number one exporter.
ICTSI, via its new wholly-owned subsidiary, Contecon Guayaquil SA (CGSA), has embarked upon a comprehensive reorganization and modernization of the port’s container and general cargo handling facilities. Two new Gottwald HMK 6407 mobile harbour cranes have been commissioned, providing the first specialised container handling capacity available in the port.
The introduction of the MHCs will be followed up with an order for three post-Panamax ship-to-shore quay cranes and eight 1-over-6 high, 16-wheel RTGs, the first of their type to be deployed in Guayaquil. Orders have also been placed for 10 new reachstackers, four empty handlers and 18 terminal tractors from Kalmar and 27 from Dutch Lanka. Scheduled IT investment includes state-of-the-art systems for vessel planning and yard and gate management.
CGSA will also build a 230 m extension to the existing 550 m container quay, suitable for the introduction of high-capacity, twin-lift, ship-to-shore quay cranes. Overall, ICTSI will invest US$80m in equipment and infrastructure in the first year of the 20-
year concession agreement, rising to US$170m over the first three years. In addition, within the next year, the Port of Guayaquil will dredge its 91 km access channel from 9.0 m to 9.6 m.
“We have a good base to build on, and we can progressively roll out our development plans. We have made extensive preparations at every level, and we are confident that we will deliver significant operational improvements over the short term, and particularly significant reductions in vessel waiting time and cargo dwell time,” said Marcelo Suarez, senior vice president with responsibility for ICTSI’s activities in the Americas.
The container terminal concession at Guayaquil is regarded as a major milestone in Ecuador, signalling the new government’s serious commitment to encourage strategic foreign investment in the country.