Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Economic Crisis Reduces Guatemalan Shipping Traffic

Shipping traffic in and out of Guatemala dropped by 9.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009. The cause for the drop is the global economic crisis.

The official figures from the Comisión Portuaria Nacional (CPN) show that imports and exports totalled 3.8 million metric tons through three ports in the first quarter of 2009. This compares to 4.2 million metric tons during the first quarter of 2008 and 4.5 million in the first quarter of 2007.

The drop has been approximately the same in the three major ports of Guatemala: Puerto Quetzal, Escuintla, Puerto Santo Tomas de Castilla and Puerto Barrios in Izabal.

The buoy terminal in Esquintla has been negatively affected by the drop in movement of fuels, petrochemicals, chemicals, and molasses.

Pedro Muadi, manager of the Chamber of Industry of Guatemala, said that air cargo has been affected the same as sea cargo.

The latest assessment of the growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the Bank of Guatemala said that transport activity could register a growth of only 2.8 percent (compared with 4.8 percent in 2008), influenced by the drop in exports and imports.

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