COLOMBIA: Contecar terminal gets major upgrade

2019, March 1: Effort and initiatives to keep Colombia’s Port of Cartagena on the cutting edge continue relentlessly with the commissioning of four additional ship-to-shore cranes at the Contecar terminal. They are expected to be operation in the summer of this year.

New facilities for container inspection are also to be established at Contecar and three straddle carriers and six yard trucks to be used in the inspection area are to be acquired.Cartagena – Hector Rico photo

Upgrading of the passenger arrival lounge at the Cartagena cruise ship terminal, mainly to facilitate a faster passenger flow is also on the schedule for 2019.

Contecar has recently benefitted from significant development as its development programme unfolds. Gate control technologies (optics), on both entrance and exit lanes, have been installed. Eight automatic weight control scales, on exit and entrance gates, are now in place. Two additional hectares of container yard space have been created and green zones and landscaped areas have been expanded by 10%.


A new facility for handling perishables has been established at Contecar. Housed in a 1,090m2 building, the facility has four 100m2 refrigerated cellars and an antechamber measuring 450m2.

“In this space diverse services associated to reefer cargo can be offered, like inspection, packaging, labelling, marking, classification, executed under the highest quality standards,” the company has stated.

Contecar lay claims to being the only port facility with exclusive quay positions for ro-ro ships in addition to a Pre Delivery Inspection (PDI ) zone. In a strategic agreement with European car manufacturer Renault (involving development of a regional logistics hub) an exclusive space for Renault automobiles was established. This facility has a holding capacity of 2,650 parking slots.

Carpe diem

International trade in perishables, hazardous goods and the necessary movement of oversized and project cargo present business development opportunities and the Port of Cartagena is seizing the day. It has developed the International Distribution Center for international telecommunications and media company Millicom. The facility will receive products from Asia and re-route to final destinations in Central and South America. A similarly, regional logistics operation has been established for global sporting goods retail store chain Decathlon Group. These two operations are similar to existing process arrangements with brands such as Pirelli, Bayer and DirecTV.

Sociedad Portuaria de Cartagena (SPRC)

A summary of work projects currently in progress or in advanced planning phase at Cartagena include

  • Construction of logistics distribution centre with an area of 23,000m2; 32 cross-docking stations; and, a mezzanine storage system for additional warehousing capacity.
  • Installation of photovoltaic cells (for clean energy supply), using existing warehouse roofs.
  • Reinforcement of quay side to allow operation of 14,000 teu vessels.
  • Upgrading of multipurpose storage yard (5 additional hectares) for motor vehicles, oversized and project cargo.
  • Expansion of reefer cross-docking station with two additional cold chambers and four dispatch doors.
  • Construction of six additional reefer hubs, increasing terminal capacity to a total of 1,728 plugs.
  • Development of three additional hectares for container storage at SPRC terminal (+225,000 teu).
  • Construction of two new mooring dolphins for cruise ships

Located just 265 nautical miles from the Panama Canal, the award-winning Port of Cartagena connects the Caribbean with 750 ports in 140 countries.

In 2017, annual container moves increased by 6.7% to reach 2,678,005 teu. Early expectation in Colombia is that 2018’s performance will reflect an increase of 8.3% over that of 2017, topping the 2.9 million teu mark. []