Cuba's Port of Mariel is ready for U.S. cargo once trade agreement is
The new Trump leadership team has yet to determine its policy toward the
Communist Caribbean nation, however
At this time last year, U.S. seaports in Southeast and Gulf regions were
telling shippers that they were well positioned to take advantage of
trade with Cuba as restrictions were gradually lifted.
The election of populist President Donald Trump, may have altered those
plans, however, as the new leadership team has yet to determine its
policy toward the Communist Caribbean nation.
Prior to embargo initiated by the Kennedy administration over nearly 50
years ago, the ports of Mobile, Tampa, Miami and New Orleans were all
major entrepots for this lane of waterborne commerce. Shippers attending
the recently concluded "Critical Cargoes Conference" in New Orleans were
told that when and if trade is resumed, the Cuban port of Mariel will be
"We are prepared to become the newest transport hub for the America's,"
declared Charles Baker, president and CEO of the Port of Mariel. "Our
position as a transshipment center is also viable."
Baker said he envisions the three-year-old container facility on the
northwest coast of Cuba, 26 miles west of the capital city of Havana, as
the "new transport hub for the Americas" in "a very, very good location
for a transshipment hub."
Total container throughput at the Port of Mariel grew from about 160,000
twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) in 2014, noted Baker. This was its
first year of operation following end of container traffic at the
relatively shallow Port of Havana, to 330,713 TEUs in 2015 prior to
reaching 325,319 TEUs in 2016.
"Mariel's current annual throughput capacity is 800,000 TEUs, with
future expansion to boost that number to 3 million," he said.
Under the current U.S. embargo requirement vessels must wait 180 days
after leaving a Cuban port before calling at a U.S. port. Baker
considers this a major handicap, calling it Mariel's "achilles heel."
"We would like to see Washington officials address this so that we may
move on and welcome a new era of business," he said.
About the Author
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply
Chain Management Review magazines and web sites.
Source: Cuba's Port of Mariel is ready for U.S. cargo once trade
agreement is restored - Logistics Management -