Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/15/2012 -- Our outlook for the Colombian ports and shipping sector remains positive, with a backdrop of strong domestic economic growth as well as support from external demand for commodities. There are also encouraging signs of badly needed investment in transport infrastructure, both in the country's ports and in the freight transport infrastructure that feeds them, on the back of the country's developing mining sector. However, progress on such projects is often delayed, and BMI cautions that bottlenecks may remain a problem for some time.
We believe Colombia is undergoing a moderate shift in the country's shape of growth, characterised by a slight slowdown in private consumption, which informs our below-consensus forecast of 4.7% real GDP growth in 2012. Despite this, consumption will remain at relatively strong levels, and a positive investment outlook for the mining, petroleum and infrastructure sectors will ensure Colombia enjoys more than 4% growth over the coming years, boding very well for volumes at the country's container ports, as well as dry and liquid bulk facilities.
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Our oil & gas team forecasts total oil production to grow by 8.7% to 990,070b/d in 2012, as production increases at both current and new fields. Moreover, exports are likely to be helped by high oil prices over the coming months, due to elevated geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and tight supply dynamics, boding well for exports of liquid bulk. On the dry bulk side, the outlook also remains positive. Colombia's coal exports have ramped up in recent years, experiencing 39.6% growth in 2011. We anticipate further increases in 2012, as Xstrata's planned US$1.3bn investment into the Cerrejon coal mine by 2015 will help boost production.
Given Colombia's still-substantial infrastructure deficit, we expect investment into infrastructure and freight transport related to the export sector will continue to grow in 2012. This comes as both the government and private companies look to decrease supply chain inefficiencies and increase the country's export capacity from both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts.
Headline Industry Data
- The Port of Cartagena will see total tonnage volume increase by 30% to 14.24mn tonnes in 2012.
- Container traffic at the port will rise by 13% to 1.91mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
- Volume at the Pacific port of Buenaventura will be up by a more restrained 3.49% to 9.5mn tonnes, while container traffic will rise 11.6% to reach 531,806TEUs.
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