THE Ecuador subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) handled its first container vessel of 10,000-twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity at the Port of Guayaquil, ICTSI said

In a statement Tuesday, ICTSI said its Ecuador unit Contecon Guayaquil SA (CGSA) received on May 1 the 10,010-TEU neo-Panamax ship CMA CGM Cochin, to date the largest ship to dock in Ecuador.

“The vessel’s arrival highlights the importance of the recent dredging of the 95-kilometer main access channel leading to the country’s primary seaport. With deeper waters, the Port of Guayaquil is the first in Ecuador to accommodate ships of this size — elevating its status as a world-class port,” it said.

The City of Guayaquil tapped Luxemborg-based Jan De Nul Group last year for the dredging and maintenance of the port’s access channel. A deeper channel allows a port to receive larger container vessels.

“We congratulate and support the City of Guayaquil in its initiative to improve maritime access to the port. The dredging of the access channel paved the way for the arrival of these ships, which is something we look forward to as a huge boost to the local and national economy,” CGSA Chief Executive Officer José Antonio Contreras was quoted in the statement as saying.

ICTSI, through CGSA, was awarded the 20-year concession in 2007 to operate the container and multipurpose terminals at the Guayaquil. The port handles 85% of Ecuador’s imports and exports, and is a common gateway for trading banana, shrimp, fish, cocoa and wood.

The Razon-controlled port operator reported attributable net income gains of 77% in the first quarter to $72.4 million on the back of strong operating income and lower financing charges.

The company is setting capital expenditure at $380 million this year to expand its terminals in Manila, Mexico and Iraq and fund the acquisition of new equipment and maintenance works. — Denise A. Valdez