Uruguay plans to build a major terminal for the fishing industry, with sufficient freezing capacity, in the Capurro Park, approximately a mile to the west from the current mooring facilities in the Montevideo bay port.
The bidding process and blueprints should be ready by next December and work in the terminal is expected to begin in mid 2017. The inauguration of the new docking facilities and freezing capacity, should take place in 2019. The whole investment is estimated in 90 million US dollars.
We expect that before the end of the year the international bid conditions for the freezing plant and storage should be ready, announced Alberto Diaz president of Uruguay's Ports Administration board, ANP.
Diaz added that ANP.s strategy was to decompress the port of Montevideo, which has become a significant container hub in the region and has seen activity multiply several times with the increase of Uruguay's exports of oil seeds, and wood and pulp produce.
The main purpose of the project is to help better organize the current spaces of the Montevideo port, and it will help us take over areas that can be involved in the increase in volume exports and quality of services, said Díaz.
The project includes a 1.200 meters pier for mooring and unloading, while the access channel will be dredged to six meters for foreign fleets operating from Uruguay and to four meters for the country's coastal fishing vessels.
However despite the improvements for the port of Montevideo, Uruguay's fishing industry is going through one of its least favorable moments. Customs data shows that fish and mollusk exports in the first eight months of the year totaled 29.000 tons and US$ 57.4 million, which is considerable less than a year ago when in the Jan-August period, exports reached 36.000 tons and US$ 81 million.
Uruguay's Exporters Chamber underlined that during August fin and mollusk overseas sales reached US$ 8.1 million 44% from the same month a year ago.
However the spokesperson for the fishing vessels captains union, Miguel Rodríguez said that there is plenty of fish stored and the overall situation is complicated mainly because of the poor prices for the country's species exports.
Prices are rock bottom, and depots overflowing, pointed out Rodriguez, who recalled that only twelve fishing companies are left in the country, and the industry has not yet recovered from the closure of the largest, Fripur, which in high season employed over a thousand people and was the leading exporter to the European Union.