MAERSK's standalone port operator APM Terminals (APMT) has signed a deal to enter the Colombian market in the key Caribbean port of Cartagena, reports London's Loadstar.
The company has announced that it has acquired a 51 per cent of the multi-purpose terminal at the Atlantic side port operated by Bogota-headquartered Compania de Puertos Asociados (Compas).
Under the terms of the deal the two companies will invest US$200 million each in upgrading the terminal into a container handling facility with an initial annual capacity of 750,000 TEU.
It will be upgraded to serve the bigger ships - up to 13,000 TEU - that are expected to transit the Panama Canal when its expansion is complete next April.
Said APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer: "Cartagena has enormous significance in South America ports and this JV underlines APM Terminals' growth and investment plans."
The deal will also bring inter-terminal competition to Colombia's main container hub for the first time. Box operations have hitherto been dominated by the privatised port authority Sociedad Portuaria regional de Catagena (SPRC), which itself has been the subject of a series of acquisition bids over the past few years.
Over the past two decades SPRC has made huge advances in modernising what has become both the main container gateway to Colombia's industrial hinterland, and the major transhipment hub on South America's Caribbean coast, providing effective competition to the more established hubs at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.
Colombian exports include mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, precious stones, forest products, pulp and paper, coffee, meat, cereals, vegetable oil, cotton, flowers, sugar and fruit, as well as processed fish and a growing list of exported machinery.
Source : HKSG.