Largest Ship to Ever Dock at a Latin American Port Inaugurates Dredging Work

January 22, 2020 | Maritime | Energy Facts Staff Writer | 3min

Terminal Portuario Guayaquil (TPG), a private port operated by SAAM since 2006, achieved a record in Ecuadorian and regional port history by welcoming the largest vessel to ever dock at a Latin American port. The arrival of the APL Esplanade inaugurated the works to deepen the sea and estuary access channels that connect the sea buoy with the port terminals, marking a milestone for the city.

Operated by the shipping line CMA CGM, the Neopanamax-class vessel measures 368.82 meters in length and 51 m in beam. Equivalent in length to four soccer fields and as tall as a 15-story building, it boasts a cargo capacity of 14 thousand TEU.

The CEO of TPG, Luisenrique Navas, remarked, “The modernization work was key to the port receiving a vessel of this size. We invested USD 25 million, which prepared us to operate with the new dredging, the deepened berth, cranes and other works.”

The executive added, “Our terminal represents 40% of Ecuador’s throughput of import and export containers and moves an average of 16,500 TEUs each week. Therefore, what we are inaugurating today will, without a doubt, have a major impact on the Ecuadorian port system.”

The dredging work was completed by Canal Guayaquil, a subsidiary of the Belgian company Jan De Nul, which will maintain the channel for the next 24 years. The company dredged the 92-kilometer channel and eliminated a rocky area known as Los Goles, which was an obstacle for ships. The channel was deepened from 9.5 meters to 12.5 meters or 13 meters, depending on the tides.

The mayor of Guayaquil, Cynthia Viteri, commented on the docking of the APL Esplanade: “This is a major milestone, which will go down in history for not only the city but also the entire country, because what Guayaquil does, it does for its country.”