Port performance uncertain in the first quarter of 2013

Nearing the end of the first quarter of 2013, the movement of teus in Panamanian container terminals is still unknown, because the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) has not yet disclosed the official figures.

In neighboring ports, such as Cartagena, the performance of the first two months of 2013 was not as expected, because January was good but February was bad, giving an uncertain reading in the first two months, said the marketing director of the Port Society of Cartagena, Giovanni Benedetti.

Movimientos de TEUs en terminales portuarias panameñas

Meanwhile, the third busiest container port of Latin America, Santos, recorded 155,271 containers in January, according to official figures.

Benedetti explained the reasons for growth in Cartagena last year, saying it was a combination of factors such as the recovery of the Peruvian and Chilean economies, Chile. He pointed out that the Colombian Caribbean port is a good place for transit cargo.

He said that 20% of transshipment containers moved through Cartagena are connected with Venezuela; Barranquilla 15%; Santa Marta 10% and Buenaventura 10%. “Not only do we transship to Venezuela but locally,” he said.

In connection with the restructuring of the Maersk Line service that will no longer transit the Panama Canal but sail via Suez, he said Cartagena is not very afraid because this port is a hub for north-south traffic rather than east-west traffic. However, if the Maersk Line re-scheduling succeeds it would have an effect in the future, he said.

Benedetti said Cartagena has won mainly because their traffic volume comes off port terminals such as Kingston, Jamaica, and Caucedo, in the Dominican Republic.

From April, Maersk service coming out of Asia to the US East Coast will change to pass through the Suez Canal and will be one service less in Panamanian ports during 2013.

The port performance prognosis is not very encouraging for the first quarter, taking into consideration that the Colon Free Zone also has problems with key customers such as Venezuela and Colombia.

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