By Geneia Verdejo
INTERNATIONAL Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s Ecuadorian subsidiary, Contecon Guayaquil SA, has lauded the decision of Guayaquil government to dredge and maintain the channel leading to the Port of Guayaquil in that South American country.
The Technical Commission of the Municipality of Guayaquil awarded a 25-year concession to the Luxembourg-based Jan De Nul Group last October 5, to undertake the dredging and maintenance of the 95-kilometer main access channel leading to the port.
“This landmark undertaking of the Guayaquil municipality to dredge and maintain the main access channel, the first in 60 years, is truly laudable. It will help ensure the progress not only of Guayaquil, whose ports will be directly benefited, but of the entire Ecuador,” said Jose Antonio Contreras, CGSA chief executive officer.
“We should be able to strengthen our position as the country’s preferred port of call in the Pacific coast that has a deeper access channel allowing the entry of the world’s largest box ships. We can now look forward to the arrival of neo-Panama box ships since the terminal is ready to handle these new generation vessels,” he added.
Located near Ecuador’s main export zones, Contecon Guayaquil is ICTSI’s largest port concession in Latin America with a handling capacity of up to 1.4-million twenty equivalent-foot units (TEUs) annually.
Nearly 85 percent of goods imported and exported from the country pass through the Port of Guayaquil, it being in close proximity to export zones and agricultural areas.
With dredging works expected to be completed within the first year of the concession, mega vessels will soon be able to enter the port even with a 12.5-meter draft at high tide, from the existing access channel depth of 9.6 meters.
Recently, CGSA got the government’s approval to simultaneously handle larger vessels at its Berths 2 and 3, essentially becoming the only terminal in Ecuador capable of doing so. This follows the inauguration of the terminal’s expanded logistics support area, capable of handling 6,000 reefer containers per month–the largest in the equator and possibly the largest in the Pacific.
At present, CGSA offer shipping lines an alongside draft of 10.50 meters at MLWS, while the access channel has up to 9.75 meters.