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Chilean Region I port Arica's private operator Terminal Puerto Arica (TPA), which took over from state-owned Empresa Portuaria Arica (EPA) in October, has inaugurated a Gottwald crane, TPA said.
The German-made, model HMK-300E crane - and associated equipment - cost US$3.5mn and is part of TPA's US$25mn investment plan.
The crane will increase efficiency and competitiveness, as it will be able to move heavier cargo loads and serve ships that lack cranes or larger vessels that currently do not call at the port.
TPA also said it will invest US$4mn this year on a bulk minerals shipping and storage terminal, which is slated to begin operating in the third quarter of this year.
TPA posted a US$508,000 net profit in the first quarter of this year, it said in a filing to the country's securities regulator (SVS). Revenue totaled US$2.82mn and operating profit US$770,000.
Last year, the private operator posted a US$289,000 net profit.
In the first quarter, the port moved 259,792t, 60% of which corresponds to Bolivian cargo. The principal cargos that passed through the port in this period were containers, soy, oil, fishmeal, bulk minerals, fertilizers and wood.
Regarding Bolivian cargo, TPA expects an increase from the neighboring country due to an improved world economy, but Bolivia's political instability could stymie this forecast, the port operator said.
Inversiones Cosmos (part of the Von Appen group that owns shipping company and port operator Ultramar) controls 40% of TPA, which was awarded its 20-year concession in August. Urenda Group's Empresas Navieras (25%), Peru's Ransa (20%) and Chile's SAAM (15%) also have stakes in the operator.
The six-berth port moved 1.09Mt of cargo in 2004, a 0.1% increase from the previous year, while in-transit Bolivian cargo rose 4.6% during the period. The concession contract excludes berth 7 administered by Peru's state ports company Enapu.