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Sananda Sahoo

DP World will build and manage Ecuador’s first deepwater port, boosting the country’s competitiveness as the Panama Canal expands.

The 50-year concession will allow the ports operator to expand its footprint in South America, where it already has terminals in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Suriname, the company said yesterday.

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The first phase of the multi-purpose port at Posorja, 65 kilometers from the business city of Guayaquil, is expected to start within the next nine months, and will take about 24 months to complete.

A US$500 million initial investment will cover the purchase of land, dredging a new 15-metre deep access channel, building a 20km access road and constructing a 400-metre berth to handle containers and general cargo.

After the first phase, the port will be able to handle 750,000 TEUs (twenty-foot container equivalents) a year.

The $1.2 billion project is expected to generate thousands of jobs during construction and about 1,000 jobs once in full operation.

A logistics zone is also set to be developed, which should boost the country’s competitiveness as a regional trading hub.

There was no public tender for the concession award, which came under criticism from some in Ecuador.

“This is a matter for the Ecuadorean authorities, we have complied with their requirements,” a DP World spokesman said.

With the expansion of the Panama Canal, ports in the Americas are gearing up to handle more cargo as it comes through.

Ecuador has seven ports, including four international facilities.

Its major exports are crude petroleum, bananas, processed fish and gold.

It imports refined petroleum, coal-tar oil and cars, among other goods.

Ecuador’s annual GDP growth is expected to shrink by 2 per cent this year, according to the World Bank. Its top trading partners include the United States, Chile, Peru and China.

The DP World project will be implemented with the Dubai-based company’s Ecuadorean partners, Consorcio Nobis and Grupo Vilaseca.

“Posorja will contribute to our continued growth in the developing markets of South America in the years ahead,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the group chairman and chief executive of DP World.

The company manages 77 inland and marine terminals around the world.

“DP World Posorja will offer Ecuadorean importers and exporters a unique deepwater alternative that will dramatically improve the competitiveness of their products in world markets,” said Roberto Dunn, the executive director of Consorcio Nobis.

The project will create additional capacity for the existing Guayaquil terminals, which last year handled 1.75 million TEUs.

The new port will have provision for expansion of 2,000 meters of berths and up to 200 hectares of terminal area.

ssahoo@thenational.ae

Source: The National

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