The Peruvian megaport that threatens Chile

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It is expected that Xi Jinping will inaugurate it in November of this year, on the occasion of his participation in APEC, in Lima. This detail shows the relevance for China of the mega port of Chancay, located 80 kilometers north of Lima and which promises to be the largest in Peru and turn the area into an industrial hub.

With an investment of US$ 1,300 million in its first stage and some US$ 3,500 million as a total investment, this port will have the capacity to receive deep-draft ships, between 18,000 and 24,000 TEU. and it is expected to be able to operate one million containers a year and between 3 and 4 million when the investment is completed. In addition, it will have four docks, 1,500 meters long in total, and in the future there could be 15.

And not only thatwill allow Peru to be directly connected to the port of Shanghai, something unprecedented in the ports of the South American Pacific coast, They say from Cosco Chancay Perú, the company that owns the project made up of the Peruvian mining company Volcán Compañía Minera (40%) and the Chinese state shipping giant Cosco Shipping Ports (60%).

This will reduce the journey to the Chinese port from 35 to 25 days, which implies not only time savings but also monetary savings, they say.

Volcán bought the project from a private developer more than 10 years ago and in 2019 it partnered with Cosco. It was a limited project, they say from Chancay, but the Chinese engineers said that this led to something much bigger and that was where the current scope of the port was sealed.

The detail that makes the difference is the depth of draft. Large ships require a depth that is not usually found on the South American coast. In the case of Chancay, the depth is 18 meters, which allows large ships to navigate with full load, the company assures. They warn that although large ships arrive at the port of Callao, they do not do so with a full load. And they don’t make the direct route to Shanghai.

After the spin-off of the Volcan mining company, shares in the port of Chancay in Peru will be offered

Located in a small fishing village, Chancay is experiencing a dizzying revolution. Volcán has an industrial park in the area of ​​more than 800 hectares where it plans to develop industrial, commercial, logistics and real estate activities, among others.

The Minister of Transportation of Peru, Raúl Pérez-Reyes, said that “Chancay will become a potentially key port for connectivity with other countries, such as Ecuador and Chile, generating a development node for commercial exchange that allows the port to be considered as transshipment point on the west coast of the South Pacific”

A bioceanic corridor

A few days ago, the Minister of Economy and Finance of Peru indicated that assembly plants for Chinese electric cars and other manufacturing plants are expected to open in the industrial zone near the port.

In addition, Peruvian Foreign Minister Javier González-Olaechea traveled to China to coordinate a trip by Peruvian President Dina Boluarte to that country to promote Chinese investment in Peru. Both leaders already met in San Francisco last year and President Xi said that he hoped that both nations would “synchronize” their development strategies and strengthen economic, trade, energy and mineral resources cooperation.
From Chancay they say that they also hope to develop a series of infrastructure works that will allow the port to be used to transport Brazilian soybeans to China.

Currently, Peru has a highway of just over 700 kilometers that connects Lima with Pucallpa, a city bordering Brazil. Minister Pérez Reyes confirmed that construction of a bi-oceanic train between Chancay and said town is being evaluated, “which would increase the flow of goods coming from Brazil to be taken to other parts of the world.”

The view from Chile

The development of this project is watched closely from Chile. The president of the board of directors of the Chilean Maritime Port Chamber (Camport), Daniel Fernández, pointed out that in the short term, Chilean ports still have the capacity to operate with large ships, but warns that “One of the risks that exists is that large container ships do the Shanghai or Asia-Pacific route in Chancay and we are a kind of satellite of that port”, he claimed. “And I don’t see that in 10 or 15 years the Outer Port of San Antonio will be ready, much less that it will be a port that can handle large-scale ships,” he emphasizes.

The general manager of the San Antonio Port Company, Ramón Castañeda, explained that the total investment in the project is approximately US$4 billion and that of that amount US$ 1.5 billion correspond to public investment and the rest to private investment through port concessions.

will have a total cargo transfer capacity of 6 million TEU, that is, over 60 million tons per year and will be able to receive state-of-the-art ships. “With the Exterior Port at full capacity, the port of San Antonio will be able to move more than 8 million TEUs annually. The above means that we will be able to transfer 90 million tons annually, including bulk and fractional cargo,” he said.

However, the project is far from being completed. The previous works must be carried out between 2026 and 2028. The construction of the shelter mole and the dredging must be carried out between 2028 and 2034.

For Daniel Fernández, the idea of ​​betting on San Antonio entails some complexities. To begin with, it has a huge shelter and it is intended to be financed with public investment. He explains that if the state makes that investment, it will be charged to the Port Use Fee that all ships must pay to use the port and with that San Antonio will not be as competitive.

From the Ministry of Transportation they put cold words and point out that the Chancay operation is complementary to the national shipping operation “so it does not pose a risk but rather expands the alternatives that countries have to transport their cargoes to destinations on the Pacific coast ”.

According to the CEO of DP World, Curtis Doiron, the company that has the concession for the Costanera Espigón Berthing Front of the Port of San Antonio, warns that San Antonio, which participates in more than 70% of container trade in the region, It continues to suffer frequent closures that force shipping companies to divert ships to other ports to be transhipped later.

“Without safe, sustainable and quick solutions to recover the reliability of San Antonio, we run the risk of Peru (or Chancay in the future) taking Chilean cargo, harming the competitiveness of Chile and its companies,” said the executive.

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