PARTNERS IN TRADE

Peru 2017 | TRANSPORT | FOCUS: NETHERLANDS-PERU CONNECTIONS

A leader in port and shipping innovations, the Netherlands has a significant role to play in imparting its experience to Peru, whose economy relies heavily on Peru's exports.

Peru's shipping industry is one of the country's central economic drivers. Exports of agricultural and mining materials constitute the majority of the nation's foreign trade, and the recent signing of free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will only further expand export markets in the years to come. It comes as no surprise, then, that port infrastructure is one of the country's top priorities as it looks to further develop and solidify its position as a leading Latin American economy.

In the course of this progress, the Netherlands stands out as a trading and development partner. The established trade partnership between the two nations creates a natural exchange of information; the Netherlands is the world's largest importer of Peruvian fruit and the second largest importer of Peruvian vegetables. The FTA between Peru and the EU allows for easy access to an enormous market with a growing demand for high-quality agriculture, while Peru's raw materials are essential components in a number of manufacturing processes. To this end, several Dutch firms are playing a key role in the relationship between the two countries, and examining the role they play in this growing exchange provides a glimpse of the future of the Peruvian economy. The Netherlands has long been a leader in port and shipping innovations, making it a good fit with Peru's export-heavy economy. Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe, was a pioneer in public-private partnerships (PPPs), a model that has since been adapted by Peru's National Port Authority (APN). Under this arrangement, a government sells a port concession to a private entity, usually for a period of 25-30 years. The private entity then operates the port, developing and improving it as needed in accordance with a strategic plan. In his role as Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb works firsthand to develop these strategic partnerships. “Creating business value by implementing innovative solutions… requires entrepreneurship, the right people, and an area to develop and test ideas," he told TBY. “It is therefore of crucial importance to develop effective partnerships." Edgar Patino, Director of the APN, agrees, noting the success of the concessions in place in Peru's port system: “[It is a] process that began in 1999 with the concession of Matarani Port Terminal," he said. “Through those modernizations, we are preparing the country to have the infrastructure and equipment needed to attend with more efficiency to international commerce, reducing operation times and improving flows in the logistical chain."

Headquartered in The Hague, APM Terminals, the world's largest port and terminal operator, was awarded a 30-year concession for Callao's Terminal Muelle Norte. In the five years since, APM has invested heavily in improving Peru's largest port, recently completing two stages of an infrastructure project valued at over USD385 million. “There is now more capacity in the port and less stress on the land infrastructure," APM Terminals Callao ECO Dallas Hampton told TBY. “Ultimately, what matters most is that customers get the best possible service." Further improvements are already planned, with APM Terminals expecting to invest over USD750 million into the port over the life of the concession

To oversee these infrastructure projects, APM Terminals contracted Royal Haskoning DHV, a Netherlands-based engineering firm, to manage construction and operations. With decades of international experience, Royal Haskoning's knowledge and comfort in port operations made it a natural fit to oversee this project, and General Manager Jan-Willem Jongblood believes that additional projects will continue to arise in the coming years. “In the future, we see a number of port projects available in Peru in terms of capacity and location," he told TBY. “For example, some of the new ports that will be built on the Peruvian coastline are because a mining company will begin operations further inland."