Two more Caribbean ports have tossed their hats into the ring as potential transshipment hubs that will be able to handle post-Panamax ships, which will begin transiting the Panama Canal in early 2016. Officials from Port Lafito, a private port under development in Haiti, and Puerto Rico’s Port of the Americas outlined their plans during the 38th Annual Conference on the Caribbean and Central America in Miami last week.
The Haitian port will be the deepest in the country with a draft of 41 feet, which isn’t deep enough to handle a post-Panamax ship. But a second phase with a shipping channel that would potentially be 52-56 feet deep is under consideration, said Pierre E. Liautaud, a Port Lafito board member. The Puerto Rican port in Ponce is big-ship-ready with a draft of nearly 50 feet. Port officials would like to see the Port of the Americas become a major global shipping hub in coming years and are currently looking for an international port operator to run it.