Cuba and Brazil create Mega-port
Tuesday, 06 August 2013 | 10:00
Cuba is preparing itself to become a major player in the international
trade market by investing $900 million renovating Mariel Port and
creating a Special Development Zone (free zone) near the terminal. The
project is a joint venture between the Brazilian government, that is
financing 85% of the works ($690 million) and La Havana that will
contribute the remaining 15% ($260 million).
Yanni Solano, the Cuban Commercial attaché in Panama, told The Bulletin
that it was decided to update the Mariel facilities because the Panama
Canal growth potential is limited and it cannot meet all the needs of
commercial shipping, apart from this being a good opportunity for the
The refurbishment works will be done by the Brazilian construction
company Odebrecht, and it is expected that the first 700 meters of the
port will be finished in December. The terminal is going to have
capacity to store between 800,000 to one million containers and it will
be operated by the Port Authority of Singapore, PSA International, the
same company that manages PSA Panama International Terminal, located in
the former US naval base of Rodman, close to Panama City.
The Cuban mega-port will be able to receive Post Panamax ships.
In addition to the mega-port, there will be a Special Development Zone,
the first of its kind on the island, which will serve as an industrial
platform for the import, production and sales to the domestic market or
to other countries.
Solano said that there are plans to build alternative roads to the
nearby airport to support the free zone.
He added that Mariel was chosen because of its geographical position and
its closeness to Cienfuegos where ships can be refueled.
“Companies such as Marcopolo S.A. (BM&F Bovespa:Marcopolo) the Brazilian
bus manufacturer, are keen on using Cuban manpower because they have
experience in assembly lines as well as having technical knowledge.”
The Commercial Attaché said that the free zone will be open to every
country, even the United States; but Cuba is targeting the Latin
American and European markets. He added that the Panama Canal widening
will help the traffic towards Mariel. “Panama and Cuba always have been
friends and recently the countries signed a Partial Scope Agreement
(PSA) to promote trade. We want to trade with everybody, as long as they
do not interfere with our internal affairs,” concluded Solano.
Source: The Bulletin Panama
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