APM Terminals (APMT) and the Colombian-based port and terminal operating company, Compañia de Puertos Asociados S.A. (Compas S.A.) have signed a joint venture agreement to jointly manage and operate the latter’s existing multipurpose Cartagena Terminal.
Together they will jointly invest over US$200m to upgrade and expand the Cartagena Terminal, including terminal new equipment, tripling its annual throughput capacity to enable the terminal to handle the larger vessels that will transit the widened Panama Canal.
While Compas S.A. will continue to be the concession holder, APM Terminals will hold a 51% majority share in the joint venture that will run the facility, subject to compliance with the necessary formalities with the relevant authorities.
“Colombia represents one of the most promising investment opportunities in the region and we are pleased to participate in the country’s ongoing economic growth and development. Cartagena has enormous significance in South America ports and this JV underlines APM Terminals growth and investment plans,” said APMT’s CEO, Kim Fejfer.
Compas S.A. Cartagena Terminal has an annual throughput capacity of 250,000 teu and 1.5m tonnes of general cargo. It becomes the sixth operational Latin American facility within the APM Terminals global terminal network, which includes interests in operating port facilities in Callao, Peru; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Santos, Pecém, and Itajaí, Brazil.
Last year (2014) APMT’s Latin American interests handled an overall combined container throughput of 2.1m teu.
Headquartered in Bogotá, Compas S.A. was formed as a joint venture between Grupo Argos (a Colombian conglomerate with investments in the infrastructure, cement and energy industries) and Southern Port Holding Inc. (formed by the Colombian Echavarría Obregón family and Spanish-based Ership S.A.). While Compas S.A. is a major terminal operator in Colombia, it also has terminal interests in Houston, Texas (USA) and Panama.
“Compas S.A. has the service reputation and expertise in Cartagena and Colombia that ideally fits our Latin America partner strategy and port development ambitions,” added Joe Nicklaus Nielsen, APM Terminals vice president and global head of container business development.
Located at the northern tip of South America on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cartagena was the second-busiest container port in South America in 2014 and the fifth-busiest in the Latin American/Caribbean Region, with a throughput of 2.23m teu. The port’s annual container volume growth rate was 13% from 2013 to 2014.
Colombia’s total port container throughput was 3.35m teu in 2014, ranking it third after Brazil and Chile.
At US$642bn, the country’s economy, again the third-largest in South America after Brazil and Argentina, has averaged better than 4% annual growth since 2010; it has been projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to expand by 3.4% in 2015 and 3.7% in 2016.
APM Terminals has two new deep-water terminals under construction in Latin America at Moin, Costa Rica, and Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico.