Aruba opens brand new container port
With a modest ceremony at the end of March, the opening of the multi cargo port in Barcadera, Aruba, was officially celebrated.
The move from the Paardenbaai harbor at the capital city of Oranjestad already took place six weeks earlier. “That offered us the opportunity to resolve the teething challenges that are inevitable in such a large project,” said Jossy Figaroa, interim Director of Aruba Ports Authority (APA). The move came a month earlier than planned, however, not only has the project been completed within the time frame, but also within the agreed budget.
The project is valued at 125 million Florins (about 70 million US dollars).
A total of 45 million is paid by APA, and the remaining sum is paid by stevedoring company Astec, that will be operating and maintaining the container port for the next 25 years. However, APA remains responsible for monitoring the whole complex as well as towing and pilot crane.
The port is an impressive sight, starting with the huge gantry crane that stands high on the 300-meter long quay. At busy times, or during maintenance, its smaller mobile “brother” assists the large crane. On the huge square, piles of containers are waiting for further processing.
Mike de L’Isle, Director of Astec, praised the speed with which the project has been realized. “Six years ago, when I started to work at Astec, I heard that there was a plan on the drawing board. Back then I could not imagine that we would be here today, in front of our beautiful new building, in fully operational new port area.”
The new port is an integral part of the infrastructure development of Aruba.
A new road has also been built that connects the port with the Green Corridor, the island’s second dual highway. As soon as the first half of this project is ready, the road will open to the trucks with containers to quickly reach the main roads.
The new Watty Vos Boulevard, which is the ring road around Oranjestad, will help facilitate a faster connection with the companies in the Eagle area, and the hotel zone at the other side of the capital.
The Port of Amsterdam is one of the partners in the development of the ports in Aruba. This company is working together with Aruba to make plans for the vacant site in Oranjestad, but also has plans for its own organization. Gert-Jan Nieuwenhuizen, the Director of the Department Port of Amsterdam International, traveled to Aruba for the opening of Barcadera. “We have many people, with all kinds of expertise, that we can make available to Aruba. We are going to play a role in the development of the former port area. This will become a showcase for Aruba as well as for ourselves. We want to build a regional position in port development and management, with Aruba in the center.”
Thus, the move of the container port not only contributes to the infrastructure of Aruba, but also to the development of the third economic pillar, a knowledge-based economy.