Latin American & Caribbean Port Markets



Brendan Dugan, Ports and Terminals Practice Leader, GLDPartners, Scottsdale/New York, US


In general, Latin America and Caribbean trade is still recovering from several years of weak performance, particularly with exports from the region. A key indicator of performance is exports from the region in general, which declined 15% in 2015 and 6% in 2016. Growth has been generally positive through most of 2017, but results have been mixed from country to country.

A key reason for 2016’s weak perfomance was the decline in commodity prices, including a decline in demand from the US which accounted for 75% of the decline in exports from the region. Other factors which had negatively impacted both imports and exports were currency and political weaknesses, with Venezuela and Brazil being prime examples of ongoing instability.

These geopolitical and macroeconomic factors have depressed growth rates in major ports in the region. With that said, the outlook for port development is nevertheless somewhat aided by technical developments in container shipping, creating continuing requirements for port infrastructure investment throughout the region. Current container throughput for all ports in the region is approximately 48 million TEUs… 

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