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Chinese-funded Terminal at Port of Santiago Opens

The Port of Santiago de Cuba is open for business accepting container ships, offering port storage and transportation facilities. Photo: Christian Pirkl, Wikipedia

The multipurpose terminal at the port of Santiago de Cuba on the eastern coast has opened and began operations a few days ago. As part of the start-up process, the very first container ship arrived. It is expected that the Santiago Port will become the second most important on the Island after the Port of Mariel.

The Santiago port upgrade began in June of 2015 with a total investment of $120 million by the China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), with a Cuban enterprise and Cuban construction company.

Built by Chinese and Cuban specialists, the pier consists of 142 piles buried at a depth of 26 meters protected by concrete.

Rodrigo Malmierca, the Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, announced in his Twitter account that the harbor was developed with a credit from China and said that “it will increase the country’s port capacity.”

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The upgrade to the Port of Santiago will accommodate shipping vessels up to 55,000 tons. Two storage warehouses with the capacity to hold 5,040 tons of general cargo and 10,080 tons of dry cargo have been constructed. There is also an outdoor storage area for containers with advanced lifting equipment and transportation facilities.

Equipped with modern port technology, the Port of Santiago de Cuba will offer port facilities equivalent to the standards of other ports in the region. It will provide an eastern port for the arrival and shipment of products, better conditions to import and export goods in containers, in bulk or bagged.

The Santiago Port offers other advantages to shipping companies. It will be able to manage up to 565,000 tons of cargo per year including containers, bulk products and general merchandise. It also meets the modern standards required by international shipping companies for port capabilities.

In addition, the Port offers a lower prices in terms of payment per stay including the use of two warehouses. Another reduction in freight costs will come from the fact that container ships will no longer have to pass through the ports of Havana or Cienfuegos first.

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The Port of Santiago de Cuba will also contribute to the economy by providing opportunities for local employment to Cubans living in eastern Cuba.

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