According to the Administración Nacional de Puertos (ANP), transhipments account for 55% of the containers discharged at the Port of Montevideo, with a majority (120,000 in 2007) bound for Argentina and the rest for Brazil and Paraguay, as traders and shipping lines capitalise on the perceived advantages of the Uruguayan terminal in terms of cost, bureaucratic simplicity, and operational efficiency.
The port’s principal container facility, Terminal Cuena del Plata(TCP), offers of a 288 m (945 foot) pier, berth depth at mean low water of 10.5 m (34.4 feet) and a 17.2 ha (42.5 acre) storage yard. Direct call liner services are provided by Hamburg Süd, COSCO Container Lines, Maersk Line, MOL, and MSC. Feeder ship services link it with ports in neighbouring countries such as Buenos Aires in Argentina and Rio Grande in Brazil.
The terminal is equipped with four container cranes, 15 straddle carriers, and 10 stackers. Katoen Natie, a Belgian company, has operated TCP under concession from the ANP since 2001.
On June 11, 2008 Katoen Natie announced it had ordered four ZPMC super-post-Panamax cranes for delivery in 2009. Each crane will be equipped with twin-lift spreaders, enabling it to lift four containers at a time. The crane purchase is part of a major expansion program for the terminal, which also includes construction of a 350 m (1,148 foot) dock with berth depth of 14.5 m (48 feet), the creation from sand fill of 13.7 additional hectares (34 acres) of paved yard, and adding 1,000 reefer plugs to the 1,652 that are already available.
The company’s says the new cranes will double the productivity of what it claims is already one of the most productive terminals in Latin America, substantially reducing the time ships will have to remain in port. This in turn will allow Montevideo to consolidate its position as a “port hub for the region” consisting of the Río de la Plata, southern Argentina, and the Paraná River extending inland to Bolivia and Brazil’s vast western