Iquique Terminal Internacional (ITI) is aiming to handle 2.4m tonnes of cargo in 2015, which is equivalent to growth of 13% in respect of last year, when it handled 2.1m tonnes. To date, this has involved it in investing US$18.5m to acquire two super post-Panamax gantry cranes and also to overhaul its entire terminal tractor fleet.
The second gantry crane arrived at the terminal in February said managing director Manuel Cañas, adding that existing customers will see the benefit of this upgrade in technology. Overall, he says, vessel turnaround times will be shortened, leading to a better usage of space within the port. Above all, the extended height of the new crane will give the operator better visibility of the cargo being handled. This is necessary, he suggests, citing the recent arrival of an MSC vessel up to 340 m in length, which will be a direct beneficiary of new quayside lift capability.
ITI is also targeting more flows of Bolivian import-export cargo. Last year, this amounted to 175,000 tonnes; this year, Iquique is aiming to hike this to 300,000 tons. Indeed, the port operator has recently opened an office in Santa Cruz in Bolivia specifically to target more freight from that country.
“We want to be a hub port for the north of the country and for the south of Peru,” stressed Cañas, pointing out that this involves working with the strategic partner in Bolivia.
Meanwhile, the Port of Iquique has declared the tender to refurbish and operate its Terminal 1 void ,as no company submitted a bid. The process was launched in March last year (2014), a few weeks before earthquakes seriously damaged the facility. The deadline was extended from September to December 2014, but despite six companies showing an interest, none followed through. The port authority, EPI (Empresa Portuaria Iquique) has outlined two options: (i) re‐submit the tender process in the short‐term or (ii) undertake the project itself with a tender for the operating concession to follow thereafter.