The ferry between El Salvador and Costa Rica-which promises to reduce the shipment of containers from Puerto La Unión to Puerto Calderas to only 1 day- could begin operations next June, as confirmed on Monday by the director of the Salvadoran Association of Cargo Agencies and Freight Forwarders (ASAC), YesliMurga.
Although the final decision will be made by the businessmen and the ferry operating agency, the project is well-advanced and only a few points still need to be defined. “Businessmen have shown openness and interest in using the ferry to move their merchandise”, said the executive in an interview with Channel 21.
For her part, the executive director of the Corporation of Exporters of El Salvador (Coexport), Silvia Cuéllar, explained that various aspects have already been resolved, such as cargo and its multimodal function. It has been agreed that for each trip, between 60 and 80 transport units are loaded. That would imply both a head and a container for both dry cargo and refrigerated cargo and bulk cargo. I would also go out 3 times a week.
However, a key point still needs to be defined: the cost. “The issue is how much it costs. All the edges must be aligned. The carrier has reservations about him (with the project), but he is also encouraged”, said Cuéllar.
According to Cuéllar, the cost of taking a container from El Salvador to Puerto Calderas in Costa Rica is between US$1,200 and US$1,800 by land. With the ferry, a rate of US$1,800 has been discussed only in maritime transport, without counting the company’s journeys to the Port of La Unión and from Puerto Calderas to the destination company. “All of that is being defined”, she noted.
What both executives agree on is that the ferry is a project that could facilitate regional trade by reducing shipping time. “The ferry service has its benefits, including shortening the time for the transfer of goods, going from 3 to 4 days by land, to only 18 hours from port to port”, said Murga. “The Ferry is something necessary and important for the business sector, both El Salvador and Costa Rica are ready to promote the project”, she added.
This ferry is a project that has been negotiated for more than 7 years, in order to expedite the transit of goods between the two countries. However, tariffs and infrastructure requirements have prevented the issue from moving forward. The “ball is in the court” of private companies, as well as the operating company, which must reach an agreement based on their costs.