Tough year for container cargo.



Trade activity at the 20 largest container ports in Latin America and the Caribbean fell by 6.8 percent during 2009, with nearly all ports experiencing a drop in trade, according to a recent ranking of ports prepared by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

"In general terms, the drop stems from the crisis," said Ricardo Sanchez, head of the Infrastructure Services Unit a the Economic Commission, a United Nations agency in Santiago, Chile.

The decline in trade volume was less pronounced--at 6.8 percent--that that of the value of trade, which fell by 11 percent. Latin America's large ports held up better compared to the rest of the world, where major ports experienced an average drop in trade volume of 9 percent.

There were some notable exceptions. Trade surged in the port complex of Cartagena, Colombia, and at Caucedo, in the Dominican Republic, both of which were among the top 10 ports in the region, as ranked by volume.

"What happened was there were some readjustments by the carrier lines" changing ports, especially transshipment ports and especially in the Caribbean as competition among the ports increased, said Sanchez. Ecuador bucked the trends, as its ports posted small increases that were not generated by new carriers, he noted.

The busiest port remains the complex of Santos, which serves the highly industrialized state of Sao Paulo. The reduction in activity did not significantly alter the ports' relative ranking in 2009.

2009 Port Container Activity in Latin America and the Caribbean 2009 PORT COUNTRY RANKING 1 Sang Brazil 2 Colon (MIT, Evergreen, Panama) Panama 3 Balboa Panama 4 Kingston Jamaica 5 Freeport Bahamas 6 Buenos Aires (including Exolgan) Argentina 7 Cartagena (includes SPRC, Colombia El Bosque, Contecar) 8 Manzanillo Mexico 9 Callao Peru 10 Caucedo Dominican Republic 11 Guayaquil Ecuador 12 Puerto Cabelo Venezuela 13 Puerto Limon-Moin Costa Rica 14 San Antonio Chile 15 Valparaiso Chile 16 S.P.R. Buenaventura Colombia 17 Paranagua Brazil 18 Rio Grande Brazil 19 ltajai Brazil 20 Montevideo Uruguay 21 Lazaro Cardenas Mexico 22 Veracruz Mexico 23 Talcahuano/San Vicente Chile 24 Puerto Cortes Honduras 25 Altamira Mexico 26 Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago 27 La Guaira Venezuela 28 Rio de Janeiro Brazil 29 Santo Tomas de Castilla Guatemala 30 Havana Cuba 31 Puerto Barrios Guatemala 32 Haina Dominican Republic 33 Salvador Brazil 34 Suape Brazil 35 Iquique Chile 36 Puerto Quetzal...

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