Freight Forwarding

Infrastructure of Main Ports in Peru

We take a close look at the current status and challenges of major Peruvian ports as well as the government’s shipping/port infrastructure development plan to get a better understanding of the Peruvian shipping market relatively unknown to us.

Investing in modernizing and developing transport infrastructure (roads, rails, ports and airports) is crucial for a country that seeks economic growth and market productivity to achieve greater competitiveness. Especially, ports are most influential among different types of infrastructures mentioned above, as the largest percentage of the total of exports and imports of goods is carried out by sea in almost all economies.

Diagnosis of the Current Port Infrastructure

In Peru too, more than 90% of its exports are transported by sea. Currently, Peru has 62 ports, 45 of which are maritime, 11 fluvial and 6 lacustrine. Ports in Peru handles 91% of the total export volumes and 65% of the total export FOB values.

Peru has a long west coast that borders the Pacific Ocean. There are three major ports – Callao on the central coast, Paita in the northern region, and Matarani in the south. We will examine each of these three ports in more detail in the next chapter.

1. Callao Port

Located on the central coast of Peru in the capital city of Lima, Port of Callao is the main port in terms of traffic and storage capacity. It has a depth of 16 meters and that allows attending immense loads. The terminal is connected to the industrial zone of Lima and the rest of the country, as well as to the Jorge Chávez International Airport and the Central Railroad that crosses the Andes mountain range.

During the year 2017, container ships anchored 23 hours in North pier and 19 hours in South pier on average. In the case of the minerals pier, it was 15 hours.

2. Paita Port

Located north of the country in Piura, Port of Paita is the second largest national port, after Callao in terms of movement of containers and is the third in terms of total movement of cargo just behind the port of Matarani.

Its volume operated had reached more than 215,000 TEU at the end of 2016. According to OSITRAN, Peru’s supervisory agency for investment in public transport infrastructure, operations are mainly export-oriented. In 2016, approximately 95% of the total export cargo was moved through containers. The main exported products are hydro biological (squid, fish, fish oil) and agro industrial (mango, grapes, avocados, coffee and bananas, etc.).

3. Matarani Port

Located in the district of Islay in Arequipa (Peru), Port of Matarani is one of the three major ports of the Peruvian South Pacific that are connected to Brazil and Bolivia via the Interoceanic Highway. The Matarani port mainly handles bulk cargo, such as fertilizer, fuel, iron ore and large and heavy break bulk cargo which cannot be transported by container ships.

Difficulties Facing Peruvian Ports

The World Economic Forum (WEF) publishes annually the Quality of Port Infrastructure Index, an assessment of the quality of port facilities and their operational efficiencies on a scale of 1 to 7. Peru’s points have barely changed since 2013. In 2017, it scored 3.7, lower than the global average of 4.063 points. This proves that there still exist significant inefficiencies in the country’s logistics chain, which generates cost overruns for exporters and importers.

For instance, the port of Callao, located near the capital city, has a lot of traffic while its road infrastructure isn’t developed as much. Inside the port, freights are often not moving efficiently, and this low accessibility is the reason why trucks have to wait for 12 or 14 hours at times when being handed over or unloading shipments. In addition, Callao is in a high crime area, so you have to pay extra attention to security issues.

Then what plans has the Peruvian government laid out for its port and shipping sectors to boost its economy and become a trade hub in South America? Also, how can you overcome the inefficiencies in the Peruvian ports and shipping market?


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