Cuba Modernizes Ports to Admit Larger Ships
HAVANA – Cuba is working on the dredging and technological modernization
of its three major ports in collaboration with China and Venezuela to
meet the challenge that the enlargement of the Panama Canal will bring,
official media said.
The works seek to increase depth to allow the operation of larger
vessels in the ports of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, through
which more than 80 percent of the island's imports enter the country,
the director of the Havana port authority, Miguel Izquierdo, told the
The official said that financing will be provided by an accord approved
recently between China and Cuba, and from another with the mixed company
Puertos del ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America),
founded to promote the development and modernization of Venezuelan and
Cuban port terminals.
Authorities and experts in the sector quoted by Opciones said that
deeper water at the island's ports will allow ships of greater capacity
to enter, and imports will consequently be less costly.
For almost three decades the sediments on the bottom have not been
dredged," Izquierdo said, adding that the result was shallower water
that impeded bigger vessels from entering, thus reducing the weight and
volume of cargoes and increasing shipping fees for imports.
Izquierdo said that in the 1980s, Cuban ports received some 12 million
tons of cargo, but that volume has decreased to some 3 million for a
series of reasons, including the world economic crisis.
He said that at the port of Havana, which only receives some 600,000 to
700,000 tons of cargo a year out of a capacity of 1.2 million, the
unloading platform and other technological elements are being improved,
while four of its seven cranes have been modernized.
As part of its strategy to increase maritime traffic, Cuba also plans to
build the new Port of Mariel west of Havana, in whose construction
Brazil will participate with $300 million in financing that will cover
almost half of the project's total cost.
Latin American Herald Tribune – Cuba Modernizes Ports to Admit Larger
Ships (13 October 2009)