Executives and port authorities from Latin America agreed that a recovery in the Latin American port sector should begin in 2018 after several years in which the concepts "instability" and "uncertainty" were part of the common language in the sector.
Mauricio Suarez, first vice president of the Ports and Docks Association, said that Latin American ports could record growth of more than 5% this year if the economic projections for the region are met.
Suarez said that ports serve as links to domestic or foreign trade and are mainly due to the growth of Latin American economies. He also mentioned the projections of economic growth of the continent for this 2018 published by CELAC as a dynamic that would increase the movement of cargo through ports, which could reach 5% during 2018.
William Elliott, chief of operations, said this year the growth will be moderate in Latin American ports and predicted that the demand will increase investments in infrastructure. Elliott explained that the year 2018 is projected as a period of moderate growth in port activities in Latin America because the economies of these countries will experience 2.2% growth.
Rommel Troetsch, former president of the Panama Maritime Chamber, said the good performance at port level in the region will come hand in hand with a greater exchange with Asia and by the economic recovery of some countries.
Marcos Baptista, president of the Complexo Industrial e Portuário de Suape, shares the views of Troetsch: "Expectations for 2018 are the best and we believe that the economy will continue to grow".
Edgar Patiño, president of the National Port Authority of Peru, analyzed that the increase in raw materials prices and the greater exchange with the exterior will boost port traffic in Latin America, as well as growth prospects of the world economy and international trade. Enrique Brito, general manager of the Port Terminal Guayaquil, shared Patiños idea that the increase in the value of raw materials will have a positive impact on port operations.
As a reaffirmation of these positive visions for 2018 for Latin American ports we can observe the movement of Mexican ports at the beginning of this year. Mexican ports started 2018 operating 518,539 TEUs in January, which means an increase of 9.1% compared to 475,080 TEU’s registered in the same month.
According to figures from the Ministry of Communications and Transportation, the Pacific ports reached 377,937 TEUs, which represents an increase of 13.5% compared to the 332,947 TEUs handled in 2016. Manzanillo port grew 8.1% with the movement of 239,082 containers, while Lázaro Cárdenas increased its participation by 25.5% with 110,321 units, according to the same Ministry.