It was not by chance that the Container Terminal Mariel (Mariel TC) was inaugurated at the highest level and in the context of the Second Summit of CELAC: the infrastructure which opens today represents an important step in achieving the aim in the Special development Zone Mariel ( ZDEM ), where the Cuban government focuses its main expectations for economic development and foreign investment in the coming years.
” This terminal will be the main entrance and exit gate of Cuban foreign trade , and its geographical location in the path of major sea transportation flows in our hemisphere will lead to consolidate its position as a logistics platform by regional ” the Cuban President said this Monday.
The Brazilian President, for her part, said that Brazil wants to be a partner of first order for Cuba . This has been demonstrated in the joint project Mariel TC, for which the Brazilian government granted a loan of 800 million dollars for the first phase and 290 million in the second stage.
More than four hundred Brazilian companies are involved in this project, and have already exported to Cuba more than 400 million dollars in products and services related to Mariel TC, Hipólito Rocha, President of the Brazilian Agency for Export Promotion (APEX ) told OnCuba. He also commented that “the Cuban government has strictly fulfilled its commitments to pay “, so this project has the enthusiasm and confidence of entrepreneurs in Brazil.
The Mariel Container Terminal is a company integrated to the Cuban Almacenes Universales SA and its marketing and administration will be in charge of the Global Ports Management Limited (PSA), a leader group in the port sector headquartered in Singapore. Mr. Charles Baker, representative of Global Ports in Cuba and CEO of Mariel TC, explained that the new container terminal has, in its first phase, with a linear dock 702 meters long equipped with 4 super- post-Panamax cranes. The infrastructure, of first class, will operate an initial capacity of 822 000 TEU (unit of measurement equivalent to one 20 foot container) per year. He further explained that the 99.9 % of workers in the Terminal are Cubans, highly qualified, which have been trained by PSA in Argentina, Cuba and Asia.
Mariel TC also has a railway network under development that will allow the distribution of containers across the country and transporting workers from Havana to Mariel. The high technology used in the process of loading and unloading containers will achieve high levels of efficiency and safety.
Patat Marcelo , chief of operations of the Mariel TC told OnCuba that last Saturday, January 25th the terminal received the first commercial ship, the K. Breeze operated by Crowley Marine , which arrived from Florida , United States , loaded with chicken. The ship that brought 500 TEU concluded its port operations in 3 hours. He added that “the terminal is fully operational and from next week we’ll be getting two regular lines and then, gradually, they will be moving all lines currently operating in the Port of Havana.”
The starting of the Mariel Container Terminal opens a new era in Cuba’s economic development and the relationship of the Island with Latin America and the rest of the world.