After Six Years, Cuba’s Port of Mariel Continues to Move Little Cargo

A celebration at the Mariel Special Development Zone container terminal of the handling of a total of two million TEUs (20-Foot Container Units) since the creation of the enclave. (ZEDM)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 15 October 2020 — The Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) reported this Wednesday through its website that its container terminal has handled two million TEUs since its inauguration in January 2014 (the unit of measurement in maritime transport  that is equivalent to one 20 foot container).

“A new milestone,” the official press said, detailing what was achieved in six years, ZEDM’s own record, says the station, dedicated to health workers, especially the Cuban brigades that fight against Covid -19 on the Island and in other latitudes of the world.”

However, the achievement is blurred when the figure is compared with those of neighboring countries. In just two years, for example, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica have each processed more than two million TEUs, for example,  according to data from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

There are no international comparisons in the official note, which states that the result “is part of the contribution made by the terminal in Cuba’s modernization and economic development project” and that the ZEDM provides “a first-class productive and logistics platform, that facilitates a higher level of national production, reduces import costs, boosts growth, creates jobs and facilitates foreign direct investment.”

The historical maximum of investments in the Special Zone occurred in 2018, at more than 481 million dollars. According to official data, the total figure for the whole five year period is 2.166 billion dollars in investments, far from the initial forecast of 2.5 billion dollars annually.

The industrial enclave, created in November 2013, occupies an area of 465.4 square kilometers in a point of strategic importance for maritime traffic due to its geographical location around one of the main ports on the north coast of Cuba.


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