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Container Port Movements in Latin America Dropped 6.8% in 2009

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8 April 2010|Press Release

The Santos port in Brazil continues to have the most activity in the region, followed by the Colón and Balboa complex in Panama.


Foto: gentileza OIT / J. Maillard

(08 April 2010) The economic crisis in the region last year reduced port activity in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a recent ranking prepared by ECLAC.

The ranking Containerized Port Throughputs 2009 - Latin American and Caribbean Countries, prepared by ECLAC's Unit of Infrastructure Services, reveals that container movements in 20 of the region's main ports as a whole fell 6.8% from 2008-2009.

In some cases, this reduction was over 30%. However, this did not alter ranking positions significantly with regard to 2008.

Although still leading in the ranking with 2.25 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) in 2009, the port of Santos, in Brazil, nonetheless experienced a 15.7% drop in activity.

Santos is followed closely by the port complex Colón and Balboa in Panama, with 2.21 and 2 million TEUs, respectively. Activity in both of these ports also fell with regard to the previous year.

Of the 75 ports included in ECLAC's ranking, only five had higher TEUs, although in several cases, this increase is due solely to a greater handling of empty containers.

The port of Cartagena in Colombia is the only one in the "club of a million TEUs" that increased its activity, by 7.65%, from 2008-2009.

According to ECLAC, the situation in the region is not too different from that of the rest of the world, which also experienced lower containerized port throughputs in 2009.

The complete ranking of Latin American and Caribbean ports is available on ECLAC's website.

For more information, contact ECLAC's Information Services. Email:; telephone: (56-2) 210-2040/2149.