Honduras-based port operating company Operadora Portuaria Centroamericana (OPC) and Belize’s Port of Big Creek have signed a sister port agreement to encourage interconnectivity between the two main ports in Central America.

OPC is the Honduran unit of Filipino company International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI).

The aim of the partnership is to fortify relations between the ports, benefitting them and their respective areas of influence.

OPC has been investing in Puerto Cortés to improve the region’s trade and cut down the cost of goods for end-consumers.

These investments covered the acquisition of equipment, the improvement of infrastructure and the launch of port technology.

In a statement, ICTSI said: “These investments, along with the modernisation of Puerto Cortés, are expected to pay off as the agreement with the Port of Big Creek is seen to increase the flow of cargo through the terminal.”

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Via a cabotage barge service by the Big Creek Group, the Port of Big Creek will draw benefits from Puerto Cortés’ international connections with OPC, managing more than 23 weekly services.

Under the partnership, the Port of Big Creek will have a free zone in OPC’s yards for its import and export cargo in transit.

The port, which is accessible by land, air and sea, is primarily involved in the export of citrus, shrimp, banana, sugar and oil.

ICTSI said that the Port of Big Creek’s location and ability to accommodate large vessels ‘make it a strategic alternative for interconnection’ with Puerto Cortés.

OPC director-general Juan Corujo said: “We are helping to transform the region through innovation, technology and the application of processes, as well as best international practices.

“This gives us tangible advantages among the terminals in the isthmus and positions us as the better option for cargo and transportation, unloading of containers and general cargo in the region.”

In March, ICTSI deployed an AI-driven operational optimisation tool at its flagship Manila International Container Terminal.