Is Curaçao’s harbor ready to become a hub for the region?
WILLEMSTAD – The harbor of Curaçao has been the topic of debate during recent parliamentary meetings. The private company Curaçao Port Services (CPS) has been the center of these debates. According to various MPs the CPS, which has the monopoly to run the harbor, is not doing enough to make of Curaçao a hub for the region.
According to an expert in this field, Curaçao has a high traffic of transshipment. The CPS, as a private company, would like to have even more traffic, but Curaçao has to compete with countries such as Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.
Currently, Curaçao has a special deal for transshipment, but the harbor does not have the capacity to handle what major cargo companies are requesting.
CPS, for example, can handle about 1000 containers per month, while Panama can handle 10 times more than that. “They have the space and the equipment, which gives them the possibility to charge a quarter less per container than what Curaçao is charging. Curaçao cannot compete against that,” says the expert in this field.
According to the expert, these are details that politicians here on the island do not understand. “They want to be popular. They want to be the ones who are screaming the loudest and appear as if they are working the people, but what they are saying that CPS is not cooperating to develop the harbor into a hub. CPS is a private company, of course they want more traffic. That only means more income and more profit. Which private company does not want this?”
According to a CPS representative, they have requested more space to develop the container harbor. The government is aware that this is needed to expand services and create the hub, but this has not been done yet.
Another aspect of the problem is that the governments of Panama and Trinidad & Tobago are subsidizing their port activities. “They want this traffic, it’s positive for their economy. They know this and they are investing in it. CPS cannot compete against that.”
“It’s good for the people to know what is actually going on. Politicians are making all kinds of decisions, which could actually hurt the harbor,” said the CPS representative.