The plans were announced by the port’s general manager, Mauricio Suárez Ramirez, following the decision by the Colombian government to extend by another 20 years the operating concessions originally granted to the SPSM and the Sociedades Portuarias in Buenaventura and Barranquilla in 1993.
From 2009 through 2011, according to Suárez, the SPSM will spend US$48m upgrading its container terminal, boosting throughput capacity from 100,000 to 300,000 teu annually. An additional US$8m will be invested in its bulk terminal, resulting in a doubling of capacity from 10,000 to 20,000 tons a day.
In addition, there are plans to extend Dock Two to accommodate new cranes, deepen berths to 50 feet and purchase a scanner to screen containers.
Santa Marta has experienced a surge of trade over the past six years, with container volumes more than doubling, from 45,921 teu in 2001 to 92,174 in 2007, and total cargo shipments jumping from 2.5m to 6.3m tonnes.