San Antonio, the largest port complex in Chile, had its fourth consecutive month with negative figures, as cargo handling experienced a 13.7% decline in April. Throughout the first quarter, it saw a 14.5% decrease.
In April, port concessionaires handled 1,679,084 tons, equivalent to 266,303 tons less than the same month in 2022. From January to April 2023, the total cargo flow reached 6,776,810 tons, representing a reduction of 1,148,367 tons compared to the previous year’s first quarter.
Containers, which comprise 67% of the total tonnage handled in the Port of San Antonio, witnessed a 24.7% volume decrease between January and April. Throughout this period, 4,571,615 tons of containerized cargo were processed.
Regarding TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and individual units, the numbers remained unchanged. According to statistics obtained by PortalPortuario, up until April, the leading Chilean port loaded and unloaded 464,505 twenty-foot containers, indicating a 25.9% decline. In terms of total units, San Antonio handled 264,593 containers, down 24.5%.
Concerning break-bulk cargo, 142,301 tons were handled, representing a 25.9% decrease. Additionally, 75,306 vehicles were unloaded in April, indicating a 17.9% decline compared to the same period the previous year.
On the other hand, the only cargo segments demonstrating positive results are dry bulk and liquid bulk. Solid bulk experienced a growth of 28.5%, with a total of 1,695,072 tons moved in April—similarly, liquid bulk exhibited good performance, with 367,822 tons and a 6.3% increase.
The performance of Chile's main port is also a reflection of the country's economy which has been facing a difficult situation since the taking office of the new Government. In effect the Chilean economy grew 0.8% in the first quarter of 2023 from the previous three-month period, according to data from the country's central bank.
Chile, the world's largest copper producer, faced a slowdown last year after recovering rapidly from the COVID-19 pandemic downturn, which drove inflation higher and forced the central bank to put in place aggressive monetary tightening.
The monetary authority still sees high consumer prices hindering sustainable growth in the Andean country in the near term, having forecast this year's gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 0.5% in the most optimistic scenario.