New Port To Compete For Caribbean Transhipment
As part of its first special development zone, Cuba plans to construct a new container-handling port in Mariel Bay. The hope is that the facility will be able to attract significant foreign businesses, in addition to benefitting from an increase in regional transhipment volumes once the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2015. However, BMI would caution that the port will face considerable competition in this endeavour from other Caribbean ports, and the substantial investment being made in facilities the length of the US East Coast.
Cuba is in the process of establishing a special development zone on 466 square km at Mariel Bay, to the west of the capital city Havana (Habana). The zone will provide significant tax breaks for companies setting up businesses there, and will, according to the plans announced by the Communist Party in 2011, 'increase exports, the effective substitution of imports, [spur] high-technology and local development projects, as well as contribute to the creation of new jobs.'
The centrepiece of the zone will be a new container port, which will supersede the current primary container-handling Cuban facility at Havana. With the ability to handle 850,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), the port will be considerably larger than the port of Havana, which has an annual handling capacity of just 350,000 TEUs.
|Struggling To Maintain Volumes|
|Port Of Havana Container Throughput, 2007-2012 (TEUs)|