LatAm container handling growing at lower pace

latamThe region’s sluggish exports and slower growth prospects for the world economy carried over from late 2012 have accentuated the slowdown in port activity during the first half of 2013, according to ECLAC figures. Panama’s Colon is still leading the region’s container ports, followed by Santos (Brazil) and in third place Balboa (also Panama). Both Panamian ports lost a bit of ground, while Santos kept growing. The first trio is closely followed by Mexico’s Manzanillo, with a growth of almost 10%.

The ranking of port throughputs produced by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) indicates that growth in freight operations in the region’s ports only grew by  2% in the first six months of the year, compared with rises of 16% and 9% in the same periods of 2011 and 2012, respectively. This figure represents the slowest growth since 2009.

The ranking includes official information provided by the port and transport authorities of the region’s countries.

According to the United Nations commission, the difficult situation of the world economy, which is mainly attributable to the slowdown in the largest Asian economies, continues to affect foreign trade volumes in Latin America and the Caribbean – particularly in terms of container port operations specialized in such freight.

According to the ECLAC port ranking, the main 20 container ports of Latin America and the Caribbean – which account for 74% of regional throughput – posted practically zero growth in the first half of 2013 (-0.1%).

Only a few of the region’s seaports displayed growth in double figures, including Manzanillo in Mexico (10%), San Antonio in Chile (10%), Buenos Aires in Argentina (11%) and Montevideo in Uruguay (28%).

According to available figures, some ports in Chile and Brazil recorded high growth compared to the first half of 2012: Coronel (96%), Arica (47%), Chibatao (45%) and Sepetiba (18%).

Comparing the first six months of this year with the first half of the previous year shows that the largest increases were recorded in Uruguay (27.7%), Argentina (20.1%), El Salvador (19.6%) and Chile (11.6%). The lowest growth figures were observed in Guatemala (-10.2%), Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (-17.6%) and Costa Rica (-22.6%).

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