Upgraded Port of Santiago to open this year

The completion this year of an extensive programme of modernisation to the Port of Santiago de Cuba, is expected to turn it into the Cuba’s second most important after that at Mariel near Havana and the location of country’s Special Development Zone.

The US$120m Santiago upgrade, which commenced in June 2015, is being jointly delivered by the state-backed China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), Cuban enterprises and Cuban construction brigades.

The new multipurpose terminal is intended to reduce the cost of imports into, and exports from the eastern part of Cuba, while creating employment. Its location close to international trade routes giving access to the Panama Canal and ports in Central and South America is intended to facilitate the growth of Cuban enterprises in the area producing cement, refined petroleum products and flour, as well as increasing the use of two shipyards and refrigerated fisheries facilities.

It is also expected to become a key hub linking to intermodal facilities including the €1bn upgrade to the railway system, with Russian and other international support (Cuba Briefing March 3, 2017).

The project involves a new multifunctional dock with a 250-metre reinforced concrete berth for loading and unloading using five advanced gantry cranes, three of 50 tons capacity and two of 30 tons. In addition, two all-weather warehouses with the capacity to hold 5,040 tons of general cargo and 10,080 tons of dry cargo are also being constructed, as is an outdoor storage area for containers incorporating advanced lifting equipment and transport facilities.

The new facility will be able to handle up to 565,000 tons of cargo per year, including containers, bulk products and general merchandise, and will meet international shipping companies requirements for port performance.

According to Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, dredging is being carried out to a depth of 14 metres to increase the access to the new dock for vessels up to 55,000 tons. At present the port can only accommodate ships of up to 30,000 tons. The dredging, which is being carried out using Chinese technology includes internal channels, a manoeuvring dock, secondary channels and several berthing breakwaters.

This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s weekly editorially independent publication, Cuba Briefing, which provides in depth information on current economic, political and commercial developments in Cuba and news on events in Europe and the US that affect the region. Business people, academics, and those with a general interest in Cuba find it an invaluable tool for developing and maintaining knowledge and providing an insight into political, economic and commercial events in the region

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Photo Credit: Florian Bausch, ‘Hafen von Santiago de Cuba’, Flickr