Ecuadorean banana exporters have a new service providing faster and more direct access to the Chinese market. According to a report in Sopisco News, CMA CGM’s new ship, Ganges, capable of carrying 9,962 TEUs, arrived in Liberator Bolivar Port of Guayaquil on 31 August.
With a maximum draft of 14.5 metres and a length of 300m, the Post Panamax type ship is the largest ever anchored in this terminal. However, explained Javier Moreira, CEO of the CMA CGM shipping company, it will only carry up to 4,000 containers since the depth of the port of Guayaquil, 9.75m, does not allow for more weight.
The ship arrived in Guayaquil from China carrying electronics, toys, raw materials, and general consumer goods. It was set to leave Ecuador bound for Mexico, then South Korea and China, with 2,800 TEU, including a shipment of Ecuadorean bananas. It can accommodate 1,500 refrigerated containers.
Because of the extensive route, it is estimated that the ship, which has a cost of US$95m, will come to port every two months.
Moreira said serving exporters with this type of ship would facilitate trade, as it offered a direct route to China, making the transit time for Ecuador very competitive.
Eduardo Ledesma, president of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE), said that this will serve the markets more quickly.
For now, Moreira said, the challenge remains in the hands of the authorities and the dealer who must “find the tools for dredging the port”.
According to José Miguel Muñoz, general manager of Contecon, the Port of Guayaquil handled approximately 1,500,000 TEUs in 2014 and this year it is estimated that the total will increase by 2 per cent.
This is a “natural growth”, Muñoz said, which depends on the behaviour of imports that have been affected in recent months while export growth remained consistent.