The South American continent has a significant place for regional and global trade. This region is strategically important for international shipping routes and container transportation. And, of course, there are so many essential South America ports. Although none of the South American ports are among the world’s top 10 busiest ports, they are critical to the infrastructure and industrial development of the 12 South American countries and the region.
Maritime routes to and from South America account for about 15% of the world’s trade and commercial services. One of the most significant effects of this situation is the construction of the Panama Canal and the increase in the trade density of the Pacific Ocean. Many agricultural, grain, and industrial products from the region are exported to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia from the region’s ports.
Top 5 Major Ports in South America
|Name of the Port||Country||TEU's|
Port of Itaqui
Port of Tubarao
Port of Santos
Port of Callao
Port of Cartagena
Port of San Lorenzo - San Martin
*** This TEU data is for 2022.
List of the Top Largest Seaports in South America - 2023
5- Port of Cartagena
Cartagena Port is located on the northern coast of Colombia near the Caribbean Sea. This is Colombia’s busiest port. The port is situated on the north coast of Colombia, near the Caribbean, about 265 nautical miles from the Panama Canal. More than 2 million TEUs are shipped in the port every year.
Cartagena Port covers 172 hectares and has eight berths. Its total berthing distance is 500 meters, and its depth is 12 meters.
4- Port of Callao
The Port of Callao is the largest in Peru. The seaport can be found 15 km from Lima. It’s a part of Lima. This is the busiest port in South America, and it’s not in Brazil.
The port is responsible for handling 43 million tons of shipments every year. Callau port is 47.4 hectares and includes eight wharves and 18 berthings for container carriers and bulk and breakbulk carrier ships. Also, it serves oil tankers, ROROs, general shipments, and passenger vessels. It has a 26-hectare storage area, 24 devoted to containers.
3- Port of Santos
The port of Santos is located in Sao Paulo (Brazil), 70 miles from the industrial city. It still ranks as the top logistics facility in South America. Itaqui has taken over the top spot from Santos, which was, for many years, Brazil’s busiest port. The port has terminals for liquid and solid shipments in bulk, containers, and general shipments.
The port has a capacity of 119 million tons of shipments and approximately . It connects over 600 ports across 125 countries. İn the 2018, the port processed 133 million tons of shipments.
2- Port of Tubarao
The Brazilian port of Tubarao, located near Vitoria, is the second busiest in Brazil and South America. Tubarao port in Espirito-Santo is widely considered the world’s largest iron ore and pellets producer. The port of Tubarao specializes in exporting iron ore from nearby mines in Minas Gerais.
The port currently has six terminals and five tipper trucks with a combined capacity of 7,000 tons per hour. This allows it to handle 120 million tonnes of goods per year. Tubarao is home to a massive container terminal that spans 11 hectares. It includes five berthing areas, a container freight facility, 150 reefer connections, and six warehouses.
1- Port of Itaqui
Itaqui Port is Brazil’s major port and busiest South America ports. It is situated near the Maranhao city of Sao Luis. The port has drastically reduced waiting times in the last few years by doubling container volume and tripling the total tonnes handled.
The port has storage facilities, including a 7500m2 warehouse for bulk shipments, 3000m2 of storage space for packed goods, and four dockyards totaling 42,000m2. Itaqui’s port has become one of Brazil’s main transshipment hubs. The main exports are bulk manganese, aluminum, vegetable oil, and alcohol.