Valparaíso, one of Chile’s largest and most important ports, will undergo an expansion project that will double its size over the next four years.
The project comes after an investment of almost US$350 million by the Spanish company OHL Concessions and will create a second terminal capable of handling two Super Panamax ships simultaneously. The new giant ships are the largest that will be able to pass through the Panama Canal once its expansion project is finished and are a whopping 22 shipping containers wide.
The new Terminal 2 will bring the Port of Valparaíso’s capacity to 22 million tons of cargo annually, surpassing the Port of San Antonio to make the historic trade center once again the largest port in the Andean nation. The expansion’s main focus is on cargo — including copper, iron and fruit from Chile’s booming agricultural industry.
Chile is one of the world’s most important produce-exporting countries, due to its geographical diversity and long Southern Hemisphere growing season. It is the number-one producer of table grapes and plums and the number-two producer of avocados on the planet.
The new terminal will also expand Valparaíso’s ability to host cruise ships looking to give their passengers a close-up look at the World Heritage site’s abundant art and world-class cuisine.
The port expansion also aims to increase imports of larger items like luxury cars, according to a statement from the Valparaíso Port Authority. These imports will have access both to the Valparaíso metro area and, of course, the nearby Santiago metropolis.
“We are enhancing Chile’s competitiveness and repositioning ourselves as a leader in the regional port market,” Chilean Transport Minister Pedro Pablo Errázuriz said after the expansion was announced.
The project is expected to create somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 new jobs with OHL Concessions, which was awarded a 30-year contract to operate the entire port.