Maersk invests in Colombias growth

With two separate agreements, APM Terminals aims to become a major investor in Colombia via terminals in the key ports of Cartagena and Buenaventura. Already critical to Colombian and regional trade, the expansion and modernisation of these terminals will improve trade capacity and efficiency in these important ports.

Svendborg Maersk arrives in Buenaventura, Colombia.

Colombia represents one of the most promising investment opportunities in the region and we are pleased to participate in the country’s ongoing economic growth and development.



APM Terminals has been busy investing in Latin America this year with investments in two terminals in strategic locations in Colombia.

The agreement in September to acquire Barcelona-based Grup Maritim TCB’s 11 terminals includes several Latin American ports, including Buenaventura on Colombia’s Pacific coast.

“Buenaventura was part of the TCB transaction but it was a very important element,” says Joe Nicholas Nielsen, Head of Business Development Containers for APM Terminals. “All the very valuable consumer imports coming into the Cali, Medellin and the Bogota market from Asia come through this port.”

And while Colombia’s economy has been hit by the drop in commodity prices, it’s economy is seen as more resilient than many of its neighbours. It is the third-largest economy in South America, after Brazil and Argentina, at USD $642 billion, and has averaged better than a 4% annual growth rate since 2010. The IMF expects that to expand by 3.4% in 2015 and 3.7% in 2016. In addition, the country has plenty of fuel for growth – the nation of more than 50 million people includes 10 cities with more than 500,000 residents and significant middle class.

Cartagena, located at the northern tip of South America on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, was the second-busiest container port in South America in 2014.

On Colombia’s Caribbean coast, APM Terminals has signed a separate agreement, a joint venture with Colombia-based port and terminal operator, Compañia de Puertos Asociados S.A. (Compas S.A.) to acquire and operate an existing multi-purpose terminal in Cartagena.

Cartagena, located at the northern tip of South America on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, was the second-busiest container port in South America in 2014, and the fifth-busiest in the Latin American/Caribbean Region.

“Cartagena is the largest port on the Caribbean side of Colombia and one of the busiest, serving as the primary port for US and European trade and a major transhipment hub for cargo moving to and from the rest of Latin America,” says Nielsen.

In both Colombian terminals, APM Terminals and its partners are investing in equipment and better access for larger vessels.

“The joint venture with Compas S.A. is going to invest $200 million in improvements to the Cartagena terminal. We haven’t disclosed the investment allocation in each of the TCB terminals but the investment in Buenaventura will be substantial. In both case, the objective is the same – to expand and upgrade the terminal to improve efficiency and facilitate trade with Colombia and the region,” says Nielsen.