Legacy and transformation
Cartagena de Indias was founded and grew as a port-city. Almost 500 years ago during the colonial era, Cartagena´s Bay has been a strategic point for international trade. A series of major changes in the last two decades has transformed the port into a state-of-the-art logistics platform.
Don Pedro de Heredia founded Cartagena de Indias
The city became a strategic point for international trade, one through which there was a constant flow of merchandise between the Spanish crown and its colonies. It came to be one of the most important ports on the continent, and remained so for almost three centuries, until the War of Independence in 1810.
Due to the introduction of steel boats and steamships in the mid-19th century, and the need to improve connections with the country’s interior, work was undertaken on the Canal del Dique in order to allow for navigability on the Magdalena River, and the new La Machina wharf was built.
Frederick Snare Corporation built Manga terminal
La Machina was destroyed by a fire in 1929, and Cartagena was left with no wharf for four years, until the Frederick Snare Corporation built the Manga sea and river terminal. Initially, it was administered by its builders, but it was later passed on to the state´s control in 1947.
Colombia passed a law allowing its ports to be privatized
The government of President César Gaviria Trujillo passed Law 1st, which established the basic principles for privatizing Colombia’s ports.
SPRC took over the administration of Manga´s sea terminal
Under the terms of a 40-year concession, Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Cartagena (SPRC) took over the administration of the Manga sea terminal, committing to make investments as part of a Master Development Plan.
Transformation of the port commenced
SPRC established the Master Development Plan and immediately began to streamline processes, invest in infrastructure and human capital, and set about systematically acquiring equipment. At Manga´s terminal, cargo volumes began to rise and connectivity to multiply, and its reputation in the region improved.
US President Bill Clinton visited the port
After a decade of not receiving visits from American Presidents in Colombia, President Clinton arrived in the country for the first time, and managed to coordinate a strategic visit at the Port of Cartagena. One of his aims was to witness inspection operations for detecting illicit cargo.
SPRC is named the best container terminal
SPRC won the Caribbean Shipping Association’s Best Container Terminal award for the first time. This same award was won again in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The cruise ship industry was reactivated
With the arrival of Royal Caribbean line’s Radiance of the Seas, Cartagena became a key Caribbean destination for the world’s most important shipping lines. Former President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, witnessed the event. Today, the organization’s Cruise Ship Terminal is served by over 30 lines and welcomes around 500,000 visitors each season.
The Port of Cartagena commenced its first transshipment operations and soon became a main port of its kind in the sector.
Contecar terminal opened
With the commencement of operations at its second sea terminal, the Port of Cartagena consolidated its position as a major Caribbean port and logistics center. Contecar’s size, scope, capacity and efficiency marked a historic change of direction for the company.
Continental hub at the port
Hamburg Süd, one of the biggest shipping lines in the world, established its principal world connections hub at the Port of Cartagena, thus demonstrating its commitment to Colombia, to the development of its market, and to its economic growth. Transshipment also continued, with customers such as CMA, CGM, Hapag Lloyd, China Shipping, MSK, among others.
‘Sail Cartagena de Indias’
During the celebrations commemorating the bicentenary of Colombia’s independence, the event known as ‘Sail Cartagena de Indias’ brought together insignia ships and sailboats from 14 countries, with their 4,000 crew members. Over 300,000 visitors toured the ships over a period of five days.
DALI opened its doors
The International Logistical Support Depot (DALI, from its initials in Spanish) opened its doors. It incorporated a unique feature at a sea terminal, one with the necessary adjustments in order to meet customers’ logistical needs. In addition to reducing transportation times, it allows inventories to be stored and administered without customs costs, and merchandise can remain in storage for up to a year.
‘The Big Leap’ forum brought together international leaders
With international exhibitors excelling in expertise, such as George Friedman, ‘The Big Leap’ forum gathered entrepreneurs, governors and opinion leaders to discuss a crucial subject, given the new demands of global trade: challenges and opportunities for infrastructure in Colombia.
The FTA between Colombia and the United States came into force
Because of its infrastructure, security, strategic location, and the central role it plays in the country’s foreign trade, Colombia’s National Association of Entrepreneurs (ANDI) chose the Port of Cartagena as the venue for the launch of the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the United States.
The port celebrated its 20th birthday
Over a period of two decades, the Port of Cartagena multiplied by 21 its cargo volume, increased its storage capacity, improved productivity in its operations, gave computerization and speed of procedures a major boost, and established a rigid security system.
Development of the High Performance School
A port and logistics training center, the only one of its kind in Latin America, boasts a crane simulator that uses the very latest technology, designed and developed in Sweden.
Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Congress
The twentieth annual meeting of the FCCA was held in Cartagena for the first time. Approximately one thousand world cruise ship industry executives visited Cartagena and its port, where they learned about the cultural and gastronomic delights offered in this touristic destination.
The Organization took part in the International Music Festival
Each January, the city hosts the International Music Festival. This year, the Port of Cartagena received around 1,200 people who witnessed the concert arranged by the Port of Cartagena Foundation on the company’s pier. The Flagship Gloria was beautifully docked on the bay, and the city’s lights served as a backdrop.
The ‘Think Big, Think Smart’ forum reflected on the country’s development
During the ‘Think Big, Think Smart’ forum, it was proposed that ‘smart territories’ be established as a collective alternative for boosting national development, progress and improvement in the quality of life of the Colombian people. This forum was meant to be a space where leaders from various backgrounds could reflect on and converse about these specific issues.
‘Sail Cartagena de Indias’
The continent’s most important sailing vessels were berthed at SPRC during the ‘Sail Cartagena de Indias’ event. In addition to 3,000 sailors, the terminal welcomed approximately 200,000 visitors, and the event ended with an extraordinary concert by Carlos Vives, hosting 10,000 people.
Supply chain leaders gathered at TOC Americas
The continent’s principal event on the subject of containers, sea transportation and ports, brought leading members of the global supply chain together in Cartagena. It was clear that the Port of Cartagena Organization had the highest levels of competitiveness and productivity in America.
The Organization’s piers opened its doors to culture
For the fourth consecutive year, the Port of Cartagena Foundation arranged a concert, which was attended by 2,500 people, as part of the International Music Festival. With the Port of Cartagena Foundation´s support, the Cartagena Youth Symphony Orchestra was formed, with youngsters from the city. They made their debut with ‘Macondo’, a cumbia that was composed specially for the occasion.
Caribbean Shipping Association
The Port of Cartagena Organization is the fifth busiest port in Latin America. Today, it is preparing to receive more efficient container ships of up to 16,000 TEUs or 180,000 tones. Its cargo volume is increasing all the time, and it is projected to become one of the top 30 most important ports in the world by 2020.
New maritime trade era
Just ten days after the inauguration of the expanded Panama Canal, the Neopanamax MSC Brunella of the Mediterranean Shipping Company arrived at the Port of Cartagena, after having sailed from our docks to cross the new sets of locks in the neighboring country.
10 years of the cruise industry revival
The 10th anniversary of the reactivation of cruise tourism in the city of Cartagena took place in 2017 after huge efforts of the national and the local governments. The anniversary was commemorated during the inauguration of the Cruise Season 2017-2018.
Pope Francis mass
In Contecar More than 300,000 people came to the yards of Contecar Terminal to share a space of thought and contemplation at the last mass offered by Pope Francis during his historic visit to Colombia in September 2017.
The arrival of neopanamax grows
The terminals of SPRC and Contecar closed 2017 with 122 arrivals of these mega ships and the frequency is increasing every month. While in 2016 the average monthly frequency was 5 boats, in 2017 it was double.