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Caucedo’s vision for major logistics hub on course


Tucked away on the south coast of the Dominican Republic, one of the newest and busiest container ports in the Caribbean is quietly going about its business.

DP World Caucedo – built by the private sector and opened in 2003 – has an annual capacity of 1.68 million teu. Each year it handles more than 1,150 vessels at its two quays, which can handle three post panamax vessels simultaneously. The Puerto Caucedo Container Terminal is owned and operated by the leading port and terminal operator DP World.

Caucedo is the Dominican Republic’s largest port in terms of containers handled and its only dedicated deepwater terminal, handling around 60 per cent of all the country’s maritime container cargo.


Built on a greenfield site close to deep water, DP World Caucedo was constructed in two phases. Phase I included a 622 meter berth with 13.5 meters draft, a fully equipped 50 hectare container yard, and another 30 hectare empty container depot.The berth has five ship-to-shore post-panamax gantry cranes.

The terminal is protected by a 900 meter breakwater, designed to withstand wave heights of up to 10 meters.
Phase II was begun in 2010 and opened March 2011. An extra 300 meter berth was added to the breakwater together with two mobile harbor cranes. An additional super- post-panamax ship-to-shore crane was installed on the main quay.

A further expansion program has also been initiated, aimed at eventually increasing the terminal’s annual capacity to 2.3 million teu. Dredging to 15.0 meters on the north berth of the main quay is planned for early 2015, while a further expansion of 300 meters at 17.0 meters draft is tentatively scheduled for 2017 ‘depending on the growth in regional trade’ says Hector Tamburini senior commercial manager.

In addition, the stacking area is being expanded by a further 1,600 terminal slots and there will be investment in new equipment, with three super post panamax gantry cranes, one mobile harbor crane and 11 rubber tired gantry (RTG) cranes.


DP World Caucedo is just 25 km from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, and has developed a reputation for first-rate terminal and free zone services. Up to 65 per cent of its traffic is transshipment cargo, with the remainder for domestic delivery.

Security remains a top priority for DP World Caucedo, which holds a number of security accreditations:

  • Caucedo was the first terminal in the Dominican Republic to be ISPS certified.
  • Caucedo is a member of the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), a voluntary program that aims to enhance the security and efficiency of global supply chain operations through active collaboration with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), shipping lines and end-customers.
  • Caucedo participates in the Megaports and US Container Security Initiative (CSI), which deploys US Customs officials in the port.

Mr Tamburini said: “We offer a Robust Management Security System in compliance with more than seven security certifications. All these security measures allow us to guarantee the integrity of any cargo handled through the terminal.”

Logistics centre

In a bid to improve Caucedo’s attractiveness as a logistics hub, DP World is building a 40 acre free zone logistics centre next to the terminal. This is scheduled to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2015, although the first warehouse is expected to be in service by December of this year.

The new logistics center is being designed to cater for a range of value added activities and temporary warehousing solutions offered by third parties such as re-packaging, relabeling and light manufacturing.
Carlos Flaquer, marketing manager said: “The center is located inside the port and is, in fact, the first logistics center inside a port in the Americas region. It will allow for quicker expediting of cargo, less customs interference and other unparalleled benefits.”

In the first phase, an area of 40 hectares is being developed; but a further 80 hectares is available when the demand increases. “There is more land and more waterfront available today and for the future to keep expanding. The plan is to keep adding capacity as demanded by the market.”

One development that is clearly on the minds of the terminal management is the widening of the Panama Canal. Mr Tamburini said: “The port has some projects under way, which aim to take advantage of the widening of the Panama Canal. We are concentrating on offering a service above the competition to create opportunities for our customers so they will want to stay and come to our port. The logistics center is one of these opportunities.”

Highlighting the benefits offered by Caucedo, he mentioned its strategic location, at the midpoint of the Americas region and in the middle of the Caribbean.

“We are close to the big markets. The Dominican Republic represents the second-largest container market for imports in the Caribbean and number one for container exports as well as the highest growth rate.

“Also, we have the best productivity not only of the Dominican Republic but also in the region. Ships have a quick rotation, allowing them to maintain their itineraries in other ports within the region. The port has a modern infrastructure, is well maintained and uses avant-garde technology, basing the performance and efficiency of its operations on this technology.

“We also work closely alongside customs and the different shipping agencies in order to offer importers and exporters a complete logistics chain solution.”


How does he feel the current reality of the terminal equates with the vision that started the project more than a decade ago?

“The concept for Caucedo was conceived in the mid to late 1990s so obviously the two world crises since then have slowed down things and perhaps delayed plans.

“But the vision has not changed in essence. Our vision remains to become one of the main logistics hubs in the region and facilitate the transport of goods across borders in a more efficient manner.”

With so many terminals expanding to take advantage of the Panama Canal widening, there is an often-heard fear that this will lead to overcapacity.

“There is a lot of capacity in the region today and if the projects which are in the pipeline take off there will be even more capacity for transshipment. That is a challenge to anyone in the region.

“Market trends in our region are very difficult to predict. Ten years is a long time. Although the Dominican Republic is very stable, we are in a region driven by political situations in the economies that surround us. As it stands right now, and in a shorter term of five to six years, we foresee modest growth in the region even after the Panama Canal expansion.”



  • 2001-2003 – Caucedo container terminal built
  • December 2003 – Terminal opened with one 622 meter quay
  • October 2009 – Phase II expansion begun 
  • March 2011 – Phase II development opened, boosting capacity by 25 per cent and adding a further 300 meter berth
  • 2012 – Work begins on Caucedo Logistics Center (CLC)
  • December 2014 – First warehouse scheduled to open at CLC
  • Early 2015 – CLC scheduled to be fully operational. Northern Berth to be dredged to 15.0 meters
  • 2017 – Proposed new berth of 300 meters to be constructed.