Importer’s unrest grows over new port charges

After twenty meetings held by the logistics chain and coordinated by the Competitiveness Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Puerto Cortés, Honduras (CCIC), importers again expressed their anger at the new port charges.

“This is based on the principle of ‘before and after’. If it is true, before the processes in Puerto Cortes they were semi-manual, it was cheaper and more efficient. Now we have an operator who supposedly has the know-how and more business costs and time have gone up,” says Jose Raul Lopez, president of the National Board of the Customs Agents Federation of Honduras (Fenaduanah).

Port of Cortés.

Port of Cortés.

Transporting a container in the Honduran terminal costs about $2,308, surpassing other ports in the region, such as Manzanillo, Panama ($665); Quetzal ($977) and St. Thomas ($1,450); Puerto Limon, Costa Rica ($1,020); El Salvador Acajutla ($1,040); and Nicaragua, Corinto ($1,140), .

The trend continues in 2016, applied in January after an increase of 3% and the rate of 1% to be applied in March.

Maria Antonia Rivera, director of the Competitiveness Committee of the CCIC calls for the increases to be consistent with efficiency.

“Right now to clear a container takes between 14 and 15 days. There are problems of congestion and each passing of one container has a cost overrun and that hurts the final consumer” she says.

At the meeting an investment of $8 million was confirmed for a construction of the liquid terminal that would decongest activity in the bulk section.

“He addressed the need for more staff from the Executive Department of Revenue (DEI) for transport inspections and to expedite the movement,” says Rivera.

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