Maritime transportation company Ferries del Caribe, which connects Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, confirmed its plants to build a new 50,000 square-foot terminal at Pier 15 in San Juan, owned by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority.
The two parties signed a development agreement through which Ferries del Caribe will build out the $15 million project that also includes an area for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, boarding and landing gateways, loading and batching facilities for storage and processing of containers, and other equipment related to loading.
Ferries del Caribe currently operates from Pan American Pier II in Isla Grande, from where it makes three weekly trips to the neighboring island nation on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The carrier and its affiliates annually move about 120,000 passengers, 57,000 cargo containers and 20,000 export vehicles.
Its cargo transportation divisions, Marine Express and Priority Ro-Ro Services Inc., are responsible for moving 85% of the cargo between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The announced development project will generate about 100 new jobs during the construction phase. The new terminal should be operational in 2021. Ferries del Caribe generates some 500 direct and 700 indirect jobs.
“We’re very excited, since we are taking an important step for the future of a purely Puerto Rican company. We continue to grow, and the development of new facilities will allow us to accommodate future demand, and at the same time, offer better services to our customers,” Néstor González, president of Ferries del Caribe, said.
Ports Authority Executive Director Anthony Maceira said with this new agreement, the agency supports the development of assets that have not been properly used for several years, while shifting cargo operations out of the cruise ship port facilities.
“With this project, we continue to optimize the Ports Authority’s assets, putting disused properties to produce hand-in-hand with one of our private partners willing to invest in Puerto Rico,” Maceira said.
This development agreement is the continuation of an announcement made in July 2018, when Ferries del Caribe’s parent company, America Cruise Ferries, signed a letter of intent with Ports outlining the pre-design work for the new facilities, as this media outlet reported.
While at the time, Ferries del Caribe said it would pay for the first phase of development and that the proposed project would not require investment credits, Maceira said during Monday’s signing that Ports would be willing to grant credits for up to $11.2 million if the company meets certain conditions.
Maceira said Ports could see a return on its investment in five years.