South American Government To Beef Up CA-4’s Busiest Port

OPC has strengthened its partnership with Honduran authorities to improve port services. Customers and port operators of Operadora Portuaria Centroamericana (OPC), the Honduran subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) operating in Puerto Cortes, the biggest port in Central America 4 (CA-4), can now expect faster cargo movement in the terminal.

OPC is working with the Honduran government and Puerto Cortés officials to improve the competitiveness of the port and better serve its four-nation CA-4 clients, including Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Improvements include streamlined and quicker port operations, and building critical road infrastructure will enhance regional cargo motion.

As part of its attempts to speed up intra-regional trade, the Honduran Customs Agency (Dirección Adjunta de Rentas Aduaneras–DARA) has simplified its early clearance and cargo shipping schemes to match the already efficient activities of OPC. Customs authorities ‘operating hours were also expanded to 7 p.m., providing agents and brokers more time to process delivery.

The Honduran Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (SENASA) has, for its portion, introduced internet procedures for applying certificates and phytosanitary licenses, enhancing the process and generating tickets for payment.

Outside the port, the Honduran Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Services has lately invested in expanding, reconstructing and maintaining the primary highway and secondary road network leading to the port in order to accelerate the transfer of loads between hinterland and border regions in the CA-4.

In addition to these, the Honduran port authority Enpresa Nacional Portuaria (ENP) also allowed a truck registration facilitation area next to the instant boundaries of the port, mitigating truck traffic on government highways during the days when a big volume of cargo is shipped or obtained.

These service improvements, once fully implmented, will enhance the status of the country as the regional logistics centre for Central America and Puerto Cortes as the primary port on the Atlantic side of the region.

OPC works 24 hours a day of the year without additional overtime expenses, while its customer service offices are open all week, including weekends and holidays, during administrative hours.

ICTSI has recently finished the construction of the US$ 145 million Pier 6 landfill for OPC, the first stage of extension job in Puerto Cortes. It also purchased two super post-Panamax cranes, enabling for the docking of bigger vessels without any constraints.

For the coming years, more large-scale projects will be in the pipeline, including the container yard building and extension, and the application of sophisticated port techniques for higher effectiveness.

A recent Port Technology technical paper by Oscar Pernia, TiL, looked at the trends in container terminal automation

Mariano Turnes, chief executive officer at OPC, said, “As a partner of good and long standing of the Honduran government, there is no doubt that we are on the right track – the good relationship and teamwork between OPC and authorities, a prime example of good public-private partnership, will help Puerto Cortes to be more efficient and competitive, move more volume, and benef all stakeholders in the logistics chain.

“It is very important that shared efficiencies between us, the port operator and the government are achieved through the improvement of processes, avoiding extra costs for stakeholders and making them more competitive in the local and international market.

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