APM Terminals and Colombian-based port and terminal operating company, Compañia de Puertos Asociados S.A. (Compas S.A.) have signed a joint venture agreement to jointly manage and operate Compas S.A.’s existing multi purpose Cartagena Terminal.
APM Terminals and Compas S.A. will jointly invest over USD $200 million in upgrading and expanding the Cartagena Terminal, including state-of-the-art terminal equipment. The upgrade will triple annual throughput capacity for the terminal to handle the larger vessels transiting the widened Panama Canal.
While Compas S.A. will continue to be the concession holder, APM Terminals will hold a 51% majority share in the joint venture that will run the facility. The transaction will be subject to approval by Colombian regulatory agencies.
“Colombia represents one of the most promising investment opportunities in the region and we are pleased to participate in the country’s ongoing economic growth and development. Cartagena has enormous significance in South America ports and this joint venture underlines APM Terminals growth and investment plans,” said APM Terminals CEO Kim Fejfer.
The Compas S.A. Cartagena Terminal has an annual throughput capacity of 250,000 TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit – approximately one standard container) and 1.5 million tons of general cargo. It becomes the sixth operational Latin American facility within the APM Terminals Global Terminal Network, which includes interests in operating port facilities in Callao, Peru; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Santos, Pecém, and Itajaí, Brasil. APM Terminals’ Latin American interests handled an overall combined container throughput of 2.1 million TEUs in 2014.
“APM Terminals has an impressive heritage in the port business and they continue to transform operations. We are excited to partner up with them and expand our business here in Colombia,” commented Alberto Jimenez Rojas, President of Compas S.A.
Bogotá based Compas S.A. was formed as a joint venture between Colombia’s Grupo Argos cement conglomerate, and Southern Port Holding Inc.-which itself was formed by the Colombian Echavarría Obregón family and Spain’s Ership S.A. While Compas S.A. is a major terminal operator in Colombia, it also has terminal interests in Houston, Texas, and in Panama.
“Compas S.A. has the service reputation and expertise in Cartagena and Colombia that ideally fits our Latin America partner strategy and port development ambitions. We look forward to working with them on developing the Cartagena terminal further,” added Joe Nicklaus Nielsen, APM Terminals vice president and global head of container business development.
Cartagena was the second-busiest container port in South America in 2014, and the fifth-busiest in the CALA (Caribbean And Latin America) Region, with a throughput of 2.23 million TEUs, trailing only Balboa and Colón, Panama; Santos, Brasil and Manzanillo, Mexico in container volume. The Port of Cartagena’s annual container volume growth rate was 13% from 2013 to 2014. Total Colombian port container throughput was 3.35 million TEUs in 2014, ranking third, after Brazil and Chile.
The Colombian economy, at $642 billion USD, has averaged better than a 4% annual growth rate since 2010, and has been projected by the IMF to expand by 3.4% in 2015 and 3.7% in 2016.