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Freeport to exceed one million TEUs this year
The San Juan Star / November 22, 2004

By Larry Luxner

In business for less than six years, Freeport Container Port Ltd. has become one of the Caribbean's leading transshipment hubs.

Last year, the port handled just over one million twenty-foot equivalents (TEUs), up from 860,000 TEUs in 2002. A single customer, Mediterranean Shipping Co., accounts for the overwhelming majority of Freeport's business, using the terminal as its main hub for MSC's American and Caribbean services.

In a press statement, FCP's chief executive, Chris Gray, said that achieving the one million-TEU mark "reaffirms our ambitious development plans and firmly establishes Freeport as a major hub for the Americas and Caribbean region."

Located 65 miles east of Florida, the port is strategically located to serve as a major world container transshipment hub between the U.S. Gulf coast, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, and trade lanes to European, Mediterranean and Asian destinations.

It covers 49 hectares (110 acres) with 15,000 TEUs of stacking capacity; 1,036 meters (3,400 feet) of berthing; seven Hyundai super post-Panamax gantry cranes; two Gottwald mobile harbor cranes; a fleet of 50 Nelcon straddle carriers; 225 reefer points and three empty handling stackers. The terminal has a short approach of one mile from the pilot station to the berth, an approach depth of 16 meters (52 feet) and a minimum depth alongside of 15.5 meters (51 feet).

Freeport Container Port is a 50-50 venture between Hutchison Port Holdings Group (HPH) and the privately owned Grand Bahama Development Co. Well over $250 million has been invested in the project since its inception.

Phase I, completed in early 1997 at a cost of $78 million, provided 1,800 feet of berth, four super post-Panamax cranes, 10 straddle carriers and a 10,000 TEU-capacity yard area. Phase II, costing $72 million, gave Freeport another 1,200 feet of berth, three more super post-Panamax cranes, another 12 straddle carriers and 6,000 additional TEUs of space.

Phase IV, valued at $75 million, is nearly complete, and FCP now has new container handling equipment, a deeper navigation channel of 16 meters, and additional stacking area of 13 hectares.

HPH is an independent port investor, developer and operator with interests in 17 countries throughout Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Today, HPH operates a total of 187 berths in 35 ports, handling a combined 41.5 million TEUs in 2003.

HPH officials say Freeport offers shipping lines a 24-hour facility with the most advanced port computer systems, operational expertise and professional management coupled with up-to-date security and full surveillance.

"The port is capable of handling the largest container vessels in the world, and aims to provide excellence in container services through the dedication of our staff and the application of leading-edge technology, by using highly advance 'real-time' communication and port management systems," it said.

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