DP World secures environmental permit for Ecuador port

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

DP World has lined up an environmental permit for the US$1.2bn Posorja port project in Ecuador, as President Rafael Correa strives to modernize the Andean country's infrastructure.

The Dubai-based company and local partners Consorcio Nobis and Grupo Vilaseca have lined up contractors for geotechnical studies to dredge the access canal, in addition to the canal design for the project in Guayas province, according to state news agency Andes.

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DP World also plans to select a firm next month to build a 20km road from the Playas district to the port, which will have the capacity to dock Post Panamax container ships over 350m long and with a 16m draft that are unable to enter the nearby port of Guayaquil, the agency said.

The expansion of the Panama Canal is also expected to bring larger ships to Posorja once it is finished, according to Andes. The two-year construction period will add a 400m berth and provide capacity to handle 750,000 TEUs per annum, according to the company's website.

Long-term expansion potential at the port includes over 2,000m of berthing space and 200ha of terminal area, according to DP World. The deepwater facility, which adds to the company's port facilities in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Suriname, is scheduled for completion in 2019.

DP World, which signed a contract for the 50-year Posorja concession in June, also operates the Muelle Sur pier in Peru's Callao port, which last year received more than 60 ships with a draft over 12.5m, the agency said. At least 10 major shipping lines that dock in Callao could also anchor at Posorja, it added.

Ecuador, which depends on crude oil for over half its export revenue, is also a major exporter of tuna, shrimp, bananas and flowers. Guayaquil port facilities handled 1.75mn TEUs last year, according to DP World.

President Correa is working to rebuild infrastructure on the country's northern Pacific coast after an earthquake killed 668, left 30,000 homeless and caused US$3.3bn in damages in April. Ecuador is struggling to meet its investment goals after oil prices slumped earlier this year, slashing government revenue.

Private investment has fallen in Ecuador since Correa, who was re-elected to a third straight term in 2013, nationalized the oil industry, scrapped the 1998 constitution and closed down media outlets in a bid to strengthen state control over the economy.