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Colombia’s main port to the west

Article - July 28, 2011
The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 grew Buenaventura’s status as a port city, and today investors are contributing to consolidate the port’s relevance in global trade
Location can make or break any economy. A country’s accessibility plays a huge role in its growth, and that growth can even be entirely dependent on this factor. This in itself is the principal reason Buenaventura has such an advantage over other areas. Positioned right on the Pacific coast, the city’s booming economy has turned it into a special economic zone.

The Buenaventura port is one of the primary coastal routes of the commercial world. With location as its major advantage, Buenaventura is fighting to strengthen the economy and to bring itself front and center in establishing the primary commercial corridors of the Pacific Ocean. In doing this, Buenaventura will position itself as the main platform of foreign trade on Colombia’s western coast.

Being in such an ideal location, many companies have recognized the potential of this region and have made commitments to help the area gain the momentum it is looking for in order to really take off economically.

“As I have said on repeated occasions, this opportunity [to develop Buenaventura’s port and] to open up the Pacific is going to change the direction of this region,” says Francisco Jose Lourido, Governor of the Department of Cauca Valley. “It deserves to have the priority in investments because there, in Buenaventura, there’s a huge social debt that is owed.”
Cauca Valley plays a significant role in developing this port. The region offers very diverse opportunities including its competitive performance in global markets. The region participates in the national manufacturing industry, namely the production of sugar, ethanol, paper and cardboard, among others.

The development of sugar is one of the sectors that generate the most jobs. For every job created in the sugar production plant, 28.4 jobs are created and needed in other sectors of the economy.

The region’s participation in this array of markets enables the value of the economy to significantly rise. With these new developments, Buenaventura is becoming a place in high demand, seeing much more traffic to import and export goods. Buenaventura has the potential to become the main port on the Pacific Coast and could be the focal point of trade routes that are connected with more than just Colombia.

All of these factors combined, the Port of Buenaventura becomes the complete center of not only coastal routes on the Pacific, but also on land with roads that pass from Buenaventura through Colombia, to its bordering neighbors. Buenaventura serving as the gateway to the Pacific Ocean seems to be just the beginning for this region.