Puerto Rico has announced that it is looking for a major international port operator to partner with on the development of the Port of the Americas, located in Ponce, on the southern coast of the island.
The Port of the Americas site sits on over 121ha of land and presents ample opportunity for future port capacity expansion and industrial growth.
Alberto Bacó-Bagué, secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce said: “We are excited to work with a private-sector partner on the Port of the Americas, to help bring jobs and economic opportunity to the southern coast of Puerto Rico.
“The development of this port is just another step in our larger economic plan focused on long-term strategic growth.”
The government of Puerto Rico has already invested over US$285 million in upgrades to the port, including dredging the entrance channel and berths up to 15m.
With plans to improve, increase and diversify the island’s power production capabilities, the government of Puerto Rico is proactively positioning the island as a global business hub.
Also, with the expansion of the Panama Canal set to be completed in 2015, there is expected to be an increase in the number of large vessels coming into the region.
The port is strategically located along the Mona Passage – a key shipping route between the Atlantic Ocean and the Panama Canal – and is already equipped to serve Panamax and Post-Panamax vessels.
Carlos Mejia, authority director at the Port of Ponce said: “We envision the Port of the Americas becoming a major global shipping hub in the years to come. There are very few places in the region with a channel that is 50 feet [15m] deep. With carriers actively utilising larger vessels, a trend that we fully expect to continue with the reopening of the Panama Canal, the region will need a centralised shipping hub.”