As of 10 July 2017, the Chilean Port of Mejillones has introduced a minerals loading system based around flip-up containers. According to its managing director, Gabriel Garci´a-Huidobro, this will allow the port to double the number of such boxes that it dispatches.

The containers are loaded with copper concentrates and other minerals. Concentrates have been handled by the port for more than ten years, but this new technology should allow significantly greater quantities to be handled. The use of these containers has been driven by industry, noted Garci´a-Huidobro, so the

port must change with the times, as well as maintaining existing methods of handling concentrates.

“Over time, the flip-top container has become standardized as a means of transport, which makes it possible for customers to use such containers in different parts of their logistics chain,” he says.

Quizzed as to whether the drop in price of raw materials in 2016 had impacted the port, Garci´a-Huidobro says it didn’t have a great impact, although prices have begun to recover.

The movement of sulphuric acid, however, did decline in comparison to levels in the two previous years. That had been directly linked to the production of copper and mining.

Other dry bulks traffic that Mejillones handles remain relatively stable. Indeed, mineral concentrates from Bolivia are actually up in 2017. He therefore remains confident about traffic for the rest of the year.

In terms of a plan to develop the Mejillones Port Complex (CPM) as a logistics port hub, the key factor remains getting customs facilities in place.

Barry Cross