Published On: Thu, Aug 21st, 2014

Port development 1990 till first quarter 2014

WILLEMSTAD – According to the latest information about the developments around the harbor of Willemstad, in these last 24 years, there has been an average of 3,023 vessels per year. The statistics report that since 2009, the number of vessels calling on Curaçao are below the indicated average, with a quarter century low in 2010 (2,464 registered vessels). The decrease in recent years can most likely be attributed to the 2008-2010 Economic Depression and the shut-down of the ISLA refinery in 2010.  According to the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) the economy took a hard hit as a result of the prolonged shutdown of the “Isla” refinery in March 2010. The plant shutdown was the result of power supply and air compressor problems.

A slow recovery of the activities in the harbor has been noted (after the start-up of the ISLA refinery), due to more tankers piloted inward, but not because of an economic growth. In 2013 the number of vessels dropped slightly again.


The statistics also indicate that the number of freight vessels have been declining since 2007 (1,319) to 2013 (961).

The number of tankers have dropped to a quarter century low in 2010 (763). This was of course due to the refinery shut-down. In 2012 (1,193) a decade high has been registered, while in 2013 the number of tankers dropped again with 5%.

The number of cruise calls have been steadily growing from 2008 (215) to 2013 (292).

The other/nonconventional vessels have dropped since 2008 (486) to 2012 (305). There was a slight increase in 2013 (11%), which is still below the average of 366.

The Curaçao Ports Authority explains that vessels are being registered by “type” and not by “reason of call”. This means that a freighter that calls on Curaçao does not necessarily has cargo onboard or needs to unload its cargo. The reason of call could be repairs at the Curaçao Drydock, bunker only or crew change. Therefore, although the percentage of freight vessels are the highest per category, that does not necessarily mean Curaçao handles more cargo or is mainly a cargo port.

In the first quarter of 2014 (Jan-Mar), the number of freight and cruise vessels have declined compared to the same period in 2013. While the number of tankers and other/nonconventional vessels increased. The number of vessels piloted inwards in the 1st quarter of 2014 is evenly levelled compared to the same period in 2013.

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