Dubai-based port operator DP World has completed the development of the first phase of the deepwater port of Posorja in Ecuador for around $538 million. The whole project is estimated to cost around $1.2 billion.

The development of the port by DP World will make Ecuador a trade and logistics hub for South America’s west coast. It will also see large container ships with capabilities exceeding 10, 000 twenty-foot equivalent (teu) arriving at the port of Posorja.

Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman, and chief executive of DP World, told the media that, “Beginning of operations at Posorja is a defining moment in Ecuador’s economic growth. The new port and special economic zone will significantly improve Ecuador’s global competitiveness and position the country as a dynamic business hub for the west coast of South America, following the model that has been tried and tested in Dubai and around the world.”

The project aims to replicate Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port and Free Zone, which directly employs or supports about 135,000 jobs and is home to more than 7,500 companies. The Jebel Ali port and free zone contribute to 35 percent of Dubai’s GDP. Currently, Posorja supports around 4500 jobs.

While the annual volume at the port of Posorja is 750,000 teu during the first phase, it will increase to 1.5 million teu at full port capacity. The port currently has the largest gantry cranes in South America.

Operations at the port started about two months ago. According to Sultan bin Sulayem, the operations carried out at the port have highlighted the capability of the Port to importers and exporters, shipping lines and local authorities and DP World is committed to developing innovative logistics solutions for its clients.