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Minister: Private sector plays "major role" in all ports - Dominican Republic
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The private sector plays a "major role" in all 12 ports currently operating in the Dominican Republic, trade and commerce minister Eddy Martínez said in a transcript provided to BNamericas.

While some of these ports are publicly owned and operated, others privately owned and operated, and a portion publicly owned, but privately operated under concession, "the private sector plays a major role in all of our ports by providing many of the services needed including... stevedoring and tugging services," said Martínez in the transcript, of a speech given to the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA).

In terms of private investment, Martínez pointed to United Arab Emirates-based firm Dubai Ports' second phase of expansions at the port of Caucedo, as the port is currently operating at full capacity.

These expansions are expected to attract foreign investment due to the Dominican Republic's strategic location, and the port's proximity to the national airport, said Martínez.

The minister also highlighted the US$26mn upgrades that have been carried out by Río Haina port concessionaire Haina International Terminals, an amount that will be doubled over the next five years.

This port handles mostly bulk cargo, and will complement Caucedo by handling mostly smaller, low-draft vessels, said Martínez.

In addition, Martínez highlighted concessionaire San Soucí Ports' US$40mn investment in making Santa Domingo port suitable for cruise ship operations.

Renovations to this terminal - located in capital Santo Domingo - are slated for completion on November 15.

The renovations include the construction of a new passenger terminal at the Sans Soucí cruise terminal, the rehabilitation and renovation of existing infrastructure at the already completed Don Diego cruise terminal, as well as an upgrade of the navigational channel of the Ozama River.

Sans Soucí - which holds a 40-year BOT concession for this terminal - has already received a commitment from Royal Caribbean cruise company for its new building to serve as the home terminal for its Legend of the Seas line beginning December 16.

Martínez also pointed to the Manzanillo and Puerto Plata ports in the north of the country as the "next great opportunities" for attracting private investment, in that both ports need extensive renovations.

Seven consortiums are currently competing for the concession on Puerto Plata, which will include the construction of a new dock, as well as a surrounding park, offices and access roads.


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