Based on data obtained directly from port authorities and terminal operators, ECLAC, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, releases each year its Maritime and Logistics Profile which includes a ranking of 120 container ports in the region by handled cargo volume in containers.
Overall the throughput of containerized cargo in the ports of Latin America and the Caribbean rose around 6.1% in 2017. After 3 years of low or negative growth rates in container throughput at a regional level, this number confirms the improvement in Latin America and the Caribbean’s foreign trade in 2017.
According to the ranking published by the United Nations organization, the total volume of activity in 2017 reached approximately 50.6 million TEU, the standard unit of measurement, equivalent to a container of a length of 20 feet, or 6.25 meters. The first 40 ports in the ranking represent a little more than 87% (or 44.0 million TEU) of this type of cargo operations in the region (a similar percentage to the previous year).
The region’s top 10 ports handled 48.2% of cargo in containers in an aggregate manner (a percentage slightly higher than that of the previous year, which was 47.4%).
The top 10 ports by throughput of containerized cargo in Latin America and the Caribbean 2017 are:
- Colón, Panama: 3,891,209 TEU (2016: 3.258.381)
- Santos, Brazil: 3,578,192 TEU (2016: 3.393.593)
- Balboa, Panama: 2,986,617 TEU (2016: 2.989.860)
- Manzanillo, Mexico: 2,830,370 TEU (2016: 2.578.822)
- Cartagena, Colombia: 2,678,005 TEU (2016: 2.323.787)
- Callao, Peru: 2,250,224 TEU (2016: 2.054.970)
- Guayaquil, Ecuador: 1,871,591 TEU (2016: 1.814.915)
- Kingston, Jamaica: 1,560,000 TEU (2016: 1.567.442)
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: 1,468,960 TEU (2016: 1.352.068)
- San Antonio, Chile: 1,296,890 TEU (2016: 1.287.658)
While the port of Callao is ranked 6th in Latin America and the Caribbean, it is already since colonial times the number 1 port in Peru and is often referred to as Lima’s and Peru’s gateway to the world. In 2017 the port of Callao handled with 2,250,224 TEU 88.6% of the country’s 2,540,960 TEU. The port of Paita follows on second position in Peru (45th in Latin America and the Caribbean) with 228,367 TEU or 9%.
Source: ECLAC, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Containerized Throughput Ranking 2017