La Plata able to support trade volumes in Greater Buenos Aires

PORTS in La Plata and Dock Sud can fully support the container volumes and flow of trade in the metropolitan areas of Greater Buenos Aires and Greater La Plata, according to the National Technological University’s (NTU) technical study.

NTU’s Technological Center for Transport, Traffic and Road Safety study cited the importance of realizing the potential of other ports serving the larger metropolitan areas within Buenos Aires with its analysis of each port’s competitive advantages, land and rail connectivity, operational capacity, and connectivity. Currently, the country’s containerized cargoes are primarily facilitated in the city’s main port located in the city center.

Both terminals at La Plata and Dock Sud, operated by TecPlata S.A. and Exolgan S.A., respectively, can absorb approximately 86 percent or 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of Argentina’s total cargo volume, estimated at 1.7 million TEUs. The terminals’ capacity can exceed more than 3.6 million TEUs over the next three years if the planned investments of around $361 million start today.

According to the study, La Plata allows navigation of vessels of up to 337 meters (m) in length and 48.31 m in beam. Maritime simulations commissioned by the TecPlata show that the terminal can host up to 360-meter-long vessels. The terminal can handle ships that require 45 feet (ft) of draft and longer length, which is almost 10 ft more than what the Port of Buenos Aires can handle. This follows an increase in the size of modern container ships, and should Argentina’s main waterway in the River Plate be dredged to more than the current 34 ft.

TecPlata has excellent terrestrial connectivity with the rest of the country via road and rail. The report includes traffic simulation studies from 2018, which forecasts that there would be no congestion problems on roads leading to the port zone, estimated at 373,000 TEUs per year. This value can be increased to 623,000 TEUs per year if the port’s operational hours are extended to a full day.

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TecPlata Chief Executive Officer Bruno Porchietto said, “The metropolitan areas of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital; and La Plata, Buenos Aires Province’s capital, are geographically contiguous, and the combined markets make Buenos Aires-La Plata an economic powerhouse.”

“TecPlata can serve the Buenos Aires-La Plata markets and help improve the maritime logistics in Argentina. While TecPlata is at the center of a growing market, the terminal is outside urban congestion. We see this study validating our view that Argentine logistics can be enhanced with the current infrastructures that are currently outside of the city proper but still within the greater metropolitan areas,” he added.

TecPlata is ready to invest more than $101.6 million and expand its capacity to up to 1.5 million TEUs, including the improvement of access roads and various terminal infrastructure, to help in modernizing Argentina’s port system. The move is aligned with most modern metropolitan cities in the world, which have located their commercial ports outside the city’s boundaries but still within the greater metropolitan area for better efficiencies and advantages for their citizens.

Meanwhile, TecPlata’s connection to Buenos Aires’ broad gauge freight network through the Gral. Roca Line allows it to attain high efficiency while reducing transportation costs and traffic congestion across major roads. The majority of Argentina’s volume is concentrated at the Port of Buenos Aires within the city’s Retiro ward, which is experiencing capacity and congestion issues.