PRESS RELEASE: SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Puerto Rico announced today that it is looking for a major international port operator to partner with on the development of the Port of the Americas, located in Ponce, on the southern coast of the island. The Port of the Americas site sits on over 300 acres, located just 5 miles from Mercedita Airport, representing a tremendous opportunity for future port capacity expansion and industrial growth.
“We are excited to work with a private-sector partner on the Port of the Americas, to help bring jobs and economic opportunity to the southern coast of Puerto Rico,” said Alberto Bacó-Bagué, Secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce. “The development of this port is just another step in our larger economic plan focused on long-term strategic growth. Infrastructure investments create valuable jobs in the immediate term and are pivotal to our sustained success in the years to come.”
In recent years, the Government of Puerto Rico has ambitiously invested over $285 million in upgrades to the port, including dredging the entrance channel and berths up to 50 feet. This port is just one of the many infrastructure projects Puerto Rico has undertaken in recent years. With a vigorous plan to improve, increase and diversify the island’s power production capabilities, as well as the expansion of island-wide broadband internet service, the Government of Puerto Rico is proactively positioning the island as a global business hub in the region. Puerto Rico already has the busiest airport in the Caribbean in San Juan, with 5,000 cargo flights and roughly 8,800 passenger flights coming and going every month.
The Port of Americas plays an important role in developing Puerto Rico into a global business hub. With the expansion of the Panama Canal set to be completed in 2015, there is expected to be an increase in the number of large vessels coming into the region. The port is strategically located along the Mona Passage – a key shipping route between the Atlantic Ocean and the Panama Canal – and is equipped to serve Panamax and Post-Panamax vessels. It is now the deepest in Puerto Rico and one of the deepest ports in all of the Caribbean. Additionally, two super Post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes and 4,400 linear feet of quayside have been installed. These and other vital upgrades give the Port of the Americas the unique ability to emerge as an international shipping hub.
Geographically, Puerto Rico is well-situated in the Caribbean in close proximity to major shipping lanes. With its ability to handle the world’s largest vessels, the Port of the Americas is an ideal junction for cargo headed to both North and South America from Asia, Europe and Africa. As the second-largest city in Puerto Rico, Ponce has the labor and ancillary resources necessary to support a robust, around the clock operation.
“We envision the Port of the Americas becoming a major global shipping hub in the years to come,” said Carlos Mejia, Port of Ponce Authority Director. “There are very few places in the region with a channel that is 50 feet deep. With carriers actively utilizing larger vessels, a trend that we fully expect to continue with the reopening of the Panama Canal, the region will need a centralized shipping hub. Ponce certainly has the infrastructure, location and capacity to meet the demand in an increasingly global economy.”