The new container terminal at Colombia’s Port of Buenaventura is running at full capacity after only four months of operation. The terminal received its first vessel at the end of January and was officially inaugurated by President Santos on May 13, 2011.
Representing Nathan Associates at the inauguration ceremony was Dr. Paul Kent, Senior Vice President of Infrastructure Planning and Economics, and Mauricio Posada, Principal Associate, both of whom have overseen the firm’s involvement in the terminal's development since 2007.
Colombia’s only international port on the Pacific, Buenaventura handles 80 percent of the country’s coffee exports and 60 percent of its foreign shipments. By 2007, port facilities were congested and a new terminal was sorely needed. Nathan Associates was retained to conduct an independent due diligence analysis for development of the terminal. That analysis was instrumental in attracting the financing for the project, and Nathan was then retained again by the investment banks to act as the banker’s engineer, independently monitoring and certifying the progress of construction, which eventually totaled approximately $250 million.
At the inauguration ceremony, the terminal’s owners—Grup Maritim Terminal de Contenidors de Barcelona and Grupo Empresarial del Pacífico—acknowledged the critical role of Nathan Associates in shepherding the project to success. President Santos spoke about the importance of the new terminal and his commitment to dredging the channel to allow access to larger vessels.
Nathan Associates’ Dr. Kent takes satisfaction not only in the firm’s contribution to the terminal’s success, but also in what port expansion means for local citizens. “The entire project represents the importance of quality work, not only for our own satisfaction, but in reducing severe unemployment among the people of Buenaventura, one of the poorest communities in Latin America. Rather than attracting employees away from a competing facility, the terminal operator hired and trained a large cadre of folks to drive the gantry cranes and other port equipment, maintain and secure the facilities and equipment, manage a terminal operating system, and conduct gate processing, among many other jobs in port operations and administration. Can’t get much better than this!”