Ecuador's state-owned Manta port authority APM is carrying out final studies to start building a large-scale deepwater port facility in 2014, the entity's general manager, Guillermo Moran, told BNamericas.
A special committee is carrying out the studies, which involve cargo handling projections and overall infrastructure development for the next 20-30 years. Most of the studies are ready, while the rest are expected to conclude in the next few weeks, Moran said.
APM is currently looking for a strategic partner to help carry out the project, which will replace a failed project to concession the existing Manta port to a private operator.
The new port is expected to become a regional cargo handling hub, as it plays a major role in the Manta-Manaus corridor, said Moran, adding that development will also be complemented by the improvement and expansion of the city's road network.
The project will complement an additional US$106mn investment plan to be carried out by APM in the next four years, which will be carried out with the support of another strategic partner.
Hong Kong's Hutchison Ports Holding (HPH) was awarded the 30-year concession of Manta port in 2006, but withdrew from the project in 2009, after which the port returned to state control.