2.1.3 Guatemala Port Of Quetzal

Port Overview

Puerto Quetzal, UN/LOCODE GTPRQ, also known as PTO QUETZAL,QUETZAL is located on the southwestern Pacific Ocean coast of Guatemala about 55 kilometres northwest of the border with El Salvador. It is Guatemala’s biggest Pacific Ocean port, important for both cargo and as a stop-over for cruise passengers, located about five kilometres east of Guatemala’s Port of San Jose;  98  kilometres from Guatemala City, about 80 minutes on the highway to Puerto Quetzal. 

It is the gateway for solid bulk and containers from Guatemala, and for fuels for the western part of the country. Likewise, it is the door through which sugar and its derivatives such as molasses and alcohols are exported. It has an annual container throughput capacity of 450,000 TEU’s (2022) and is currently the largest facility between the port of Lázaro Cardenas in México, and the Panama Canal, on the west coast of Central America. It is the only terminal in Guatemala capable of handling 10,000 TEU vessels due to its 14.5 m max. draft. 

Puerto Quetzal has a privileged geographical position in the Central America Region as it is situated in an equidistant point to the Panama Canal and the big Mexican ports in the Pacific.  

The Empresa Portuaria Quetzal is the institution responsible for the management and administration of Puerto Quetzal; they foresee that in 2023 Puerto Quetzal will be an intelligent port, the first of its kind in all of Central America, the third or fourth in Latin America excluding Panama. 

APM Container Terminal, , is the main terminal operator, according to its master plan [1mn TEU’s / year] it should have carried out its second phase of invetsments, which is another berth, equipment and yards, in 2019. Due to a current legal situation with the Guatemalan government, it has not been done, so the capacity of the port has already reached its limit above 60%, and that the international demand is very high, so it is required that the expansion phase continue that it had in its port conception plan when it began operations. If more investments are not made, there will be more and more congestion with delays in container export cargo.  

At the closure of the present LCA edition 2022, the Guatemalan government is currently negotiating with APM the purchase of the container terminal.   

APM Institutional video Puerto Quetzal: 

Port website:www.puertoquetzal.gob 

Key port information may also be found at: 

Port Location and Contact



Province or District


Nearest Town or City

with Distance from Port

Name: San Jose

km: 5 km

(next town:  Escuintla 41 km) 

Port's Complete Name

Puerto Quetzal


13º 55' 00.0382 N  (N13°55′50.27)


90º 47' 03.7361 W (E -90°45′28.92)

Managing Company or Port Authority

Empresa Portuaria Quetzal 

Km. 102 Autopista Escuintla 

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, C.A. 

PBX: (502) 7828-3500 

Offices in Guatemala City 

4a. Calle 7-53 Zona 9, 

Edificio Torre Azul, 1er. Nivel 

Oficina 105 Guatemala, C.A. 01009 

Tel. (502) 2312-5000 

Management Contact Person

General Manager Francisco Antonio Anleu Quijada 

Operations Manager Mario Véliz Lopez 

Ludwin Apixola  Focal point for  Estadísticas Portuarias  - COCATRAM 

Phone (502) 7828-3500 

Nearest Airport and Airlines with Frequent International Arrivals/Departures

Guatemala La Aurora Int'l, 110 km  

Airlines: Private planes 

Port Picture

Puerto Quetzal facilities can accommodate Panamax-size vessels and can serve carriers of solid and liquid bulk cargoes, containers, roll-on/roll-off cargoes, cruise fleets, fishing boats, sailboats, frigates, and recreational vessels. The port authority or the Empresa Portuaria Quetzal operates and administers the port functions. The harbour of this port is sheltered by breakwaters. The main dock is near the eastern side of the harbour and is 1,140 meters long. 

The port contains 437 thousand square meters of storage space, 5.6 thousand square meters of warehouse, 8 thousand square meters of sheds, and an open storage area of 21.3 thousand square meters. An additional 2.1 thousand square meters is available for handling roll-on/roll-off cargoes, and 16.4 thousand square meters is available for vehicles. Its facilities are home to the largest storage facilities for grain, fuel, molasses, sugar and other solid and liquid cargo that moves in the port.

List of the areas identified in the Port Picture: 

Description and Contacts of Key Companies


For more information on port contacts, please see the following link:  4.4 Port and Waterways Companies Contact List.

Port Performance

It is the only terminal in Guatemala capable of handling 10,000 TEU vessels due to its 14.5 m max. draft.  

The port can handle huge vessels and is operational all year. The commercial dock has four berths. Its main berth is 820 meters long and can accommodate ships with 11 meters draft. It handles general cargo. The other two berths handle both solid and liquid cargo and it also has a multipurpose ramp, plus a 203 m long container berth and three berthing tugs. 

List of main shipping lines serving the port: ALIANCA, APL, CCNI, COSCO, CHINA SHIPPING, CMA CGM, CP SHIPS, HAMBURG SUD, Hapag Lloyd, HANJIN, LIBRA, Maersk, NORASIA, NYK, Seaboard, Wan Hai 

Traffic figures:  Approx 5,000,000 mt of cargo, 1,100 vessels, 17,000 passengers and 550,000 TEU are handled annually. Reduced waiting time for vessels due to dedicated berthing windows 

The main commercial dock is situated in the eastern part of the harbour. The W basin houses a cruise jetty, with a power station on its N side and an LPG terminal on the S side. 

The harbour is protected by breakwaters; the major dock is 1,140m in length; the minor of 307m in length; with also a dyke of 367m. The main dock is situated in the eastern part of the harbour. 

Control tower: Located on channel 16 VHF. 

Max vessel size: LOA 280m, beam 32m, draught 10.5m.   

Max. Size:   Draft 11.1 m. (tidal).  Containers: Draft 11.1 m. (tidal).  Passengers: Draft 12.0 m. (tidal).  Ro-Ro: Draft 11.1 m. (tidal).  Bulk: Draft 11.1 m. (tidal).  Tankers: Draft 11.6 m. (tidal).  Gas: Draft 12.5 m. (tidal). 

Seasonal Constraints


Time Frame

Rainy Season


May to October

Major Import Campaigns


Sugar cane exports from November to April

Other Comments Load line zone: North Pacific Seasonal Tropical Area, Tropical Mar 1 to Jun 30 and Nov 1 to Nov 30, Summer Jul 1 to Oct 31 and Dec 1 to Feb 28/29. 

The types of vessels regularly calling at PUERTO QUETZAL are Bulk Carrier (31%), Container Ship (29%), Oil/Chemical Tanker (20%), General Cargo (6%), Vehicle Carrier (5%). 

Guatemala cargo movement chart, by type (Thousands of MT) during year 2021 

Handling Figures for 2021

Vessel Calls


Container Traffic (TEUs)

581,030  (2020 519,570)

Guatemala vessel movement chart, year 2021 

Handling Figures Bulk and Break Bulk for 2021

Bulk (MT)

13,407.88 mt  (2020 12,433.37 mt, +7.8%)

Break bulk (MT)

1,537.97 thousand mt

Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges

THC rates are highly variable. Please check rates on case by case basis. 

For information on port rates and charges, please see the following link: 

Berthing Specifications

Type of Berth 





Draft (m) 


Conventional Berth 




Commercial Dock: 2 berths to handle general cargo; 2 for solid/liquid general cargo; 1 multipurpose ramp. 

Dimensions: 820 meters long 

Depth: 11 meters. It offers space for four (04) vessels. 

Container Berth 





Silo Berth 




The grain terminal is situated in Zone 1 and spans 39,800 m². The terminal has six silos with a storage capacity of 3,880 tonnes 

Berthing Tugs 

3 (1 port, 2 private*) 



*Azimut type: Robert Allan R Amparts 2300MM, has a length of 23 meters, CAT 3512C engines and Rolls Royce US205 FP azimuth thrusters, with a speed of approximately 12 knots. (Bollard Pull) of 60 tons. 

Water Barges 




Water supply, Yes 

The main berth is 820m long with 11 meters draft. It offers space for four (04) vessels. 

The “Commercial wharf”  which is composed of four berths of 202.5 m is divided as follows: 1 berth for the handling of general cargo, 2 for general solid/liquid cargo, and1 multipurpose ramp (Ro-Ro). The depth is 11m BHZ. 

Coal and Fuel Terminal: 1 berth formed by 4 dolphin pilings, for unloading mineral coal and fuels. 

Dimensions: 10.67 meters long and 10.36 meters wide 

Depth: 12 meters.  

Cruise Terminal: 1 berth formed by 6 dolphin piling, for the berthing of passenger ships. 

Dimensions: 185 meters long 

Depth: 13 meters.  

Services or Link Dock: connection between the general dock and the south dock, it is used to maintain small boats. 

Dimensions: 50 meters long and 40 meters wide 

Depth: between 5 and 11 meters.  

Auxiliary Dock: 1 berth to handle general cargo (shallow draft vessels) on the north side. 

Dimensions: 170 meters long 

Depth: 5 meters  

Gas Terminal: 1 berth formed by 2 retention piles and 6 mooring piles, with specialized connections for the discharge of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). 

Dimensions: 58 meters long 

Depth: 13 meters.  

General Cargo Handling Berths

The general cargo handling berth is on the 810 m long. The “Commercial wharf” which is composed of four berths of 202.5 m is divided as follows: 1 berth for the handling of general cargo, 2 for general solid/liquid cargo, and1 multipurpose ramp (Ro-Ro). The depth is 11m BHZ. 

Cargo Type

Berth Identification

Imports - Bagged Cargo


Exports - Bagged Cargo


Imports and Exports - RoRo

1 multipurpose ramp (Ro-Ro) 

 at the Commercial Wharf

Other Imports


Port Handling Equipment

Is the port equipment managed by the government or privately? Privately  

Currently operating at around 60% capacity, the terminal is equipped with three Super Post Panamax Ship-to-Shore cranes (20 container outreach) on a 350m quay. With 610 reefer plugs, the terminal handles fruits and vegetables, coffee, grains, fertilizer, fish, cotton, textiles and tobacco. 




Total Quantity and Capacity Available 

Comments on Current Condition and Actual Usage 

Dockside Crane 


03 three Super Post Panamax Ship-to-Shore cranes 

Operational, Kone 

Container Gantries 


05 / 60 tons 


Mobile Cranes 


1 of 36 t, 4 of 45 t, 1 of 42 t 




14 / 40 ton ea. 


RoRo Tugmaster (with Trailer) 


20 Tug and trailer 


Grain Elevator with Bagging Machines 






05 / 60 tons 






Container Facilities

Terminal A for full containers: 10,680 m² / 768 TEU’s 

Terminal B for full containers and reefers: 16,418 m² / 1,104 TEU’s Terminal C for full containers: 16,400 m² / 1,174 TEU’s 

Container yard APM: 130,000 m2 

Container yard (Private company Cobigua): 14,128 m² / 1,125 TEU’s  

Container yard (Private company Almasilos): 4,000 m² / 200 TEU’s 

Container yard (Private company Maersk Sealand): 16,400 m² / 1,176 TEU’s 

Container yard (Private company Servicios Portuarios): 42,230 m² / 4,450 TEU’s 


20 ft

40 ft

Container Facilities Available



Container Freight Station (CFS)



Refrigerated Container Stations


610 Reefer positions 

Other Capacity Details


Annual container throughput capacity of 340,000 TEU 

Rapid truck turnaround times are made possible thanks to 5 gate lanes and a digital appointment system 

Daily Take Off Capacity
(Containers per Day)


930 TEUs /day 

Number of Reefer Stations
(Connection Points)


610 reefer plugs 

Emergency Take-off Capacity


1000 TEUs /day 

Off take Capacity of Gang Shift
(Containers per Shift)



Customs Guidance

There are no unique customs formalities for Port of Quetzal. Inside Port Quetzal the SAT   office is the busiest customs office from Guatemala, followed by Santo Tomas and Guatemalan central customs office.When all necessary documentation is presented to the customs authorities and OIRSA,  the cargo release process will take an estimate of 5 or 6 days from the time the vessel arrives until cargo is release.   The Government of Guatemala has launched since May 2021 a new project with the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation that will simplify, standardise, and digitise documentation and procedures at its major ports, with benefits that can ripple across its economy. Shipping companies, terminal operators, and captains will spend less time meeting administrative demands when ships arrive, dock at, or leave Guatemalan ports. For the public sector, the switch to automated processes will ease the controls performed by customs, health, agriculture, and immigration authorities and permit more effective coordination. The time saved by improving authorisation and inspection processes can allow ports to receive more ships and save operators as much as USD 3,000 in operational costs per hour for each vessel. Delays in port arrivals and departures stemming from incorrect paperwork and discoordination among several actors can cost ships their place at port berths and lead to late fees and time lost in loading or unloading cargo. 

Puerto Quetzal Customs 

Kilometer 111 of the Central American Highway number CA-9 South, Puerto Quetzal. Municipality of San José, Department of Escuintla. Tel. (502) 23297070 Ext. 6130, 6131, 6140 and 6143. 

Services provided: Dispatch of goods (import, export and transit). 

Open from, to: In administrative areas: Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 22:00. The Collection and Management area: Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 16:00 and Saturday from 08:00 to 12:00. In operational areas: from Monday to Sunday, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., carrying out extraordinary services during the hours that users request from the Coordination of Modules, Shipments and Landings, and Exports. 

For more information on customs in Guatemala, please see the following link: 1.3 Customs Information here. 

Terminal Information

Please see APM Puerto Quetzal institutional video: 


The main berth is 820m long with 11 meters draft. It offers space for four (04) vessels. 

The “Commercial wharf” which is composed of four berths of 202.5 m is divided as follows: 1 berth for the handling of general cargo, 2 for general solid/liquid cargo, and1 multipurpose ramp (Ro-Ro). The depth is 11m BHZ. 


The grain terminal is situated in Zone 1 and spans 39,800 m². The terminal has six silos with a storage capacity of 3,880 tonnes. It also has a warehouse with a capacity of 10,000 tonnes. The terminal has treadmills for loading and unloading grains. They can handle different products together. 


The Compania Bananera Independiente Guatemala – COBIGUA owns warehouses for storing dry and refrigerated cargo. The warehouse for refrigerated cargo spans 10,620 m² with a capacity of 4,115 tonnes. It is said to be the biggest refrigerated cargo warehouse in Latin America. 

The warehouse for dry cargo is spread across 10,500 m² and it receives, stores and ships general cargo and cargo packed in containers. . It has a storage capacity of approximately 4,000 t. Another container yard of 14,400 m² with a capacity for 1,125 TEU’s is available in the port. 

Total floor space  for storage = 437,623  m² 


Floor area (m²) / t 

Bunker storage tank (Enron) 


3,000 t 

Clinker Storage Warehouse (Private company: Global Cement) 


4,417 / 50,000 

Consolidating Warehouse 


5,600 / 22,400 

Customs Warehouses 


 2,843 m² (Ematessa) 

9,177 m² (Almacenes Silos, SA)   42,229 m² (Servicios Portuarios) 

131,779 m² (Compania Bananera) 

General Cargo Warehouse 


8,000 / 32,000 

General Cargo Warehouse (Private company: Cobigua) 


10,500 / 31,500 

Grain storage silos (Terpac) 


4,000 t 

Grain storage silos (Terpac) 


1,200 t 

Grain Storage Warehouse (Private company: Terpac) 


1,600 / 7,500 

Refrigerated Freight Warehouse (Private company: Cobigua) 


9,000 / 3,500 

Sugar Storage Warehouse (Private company: Expogranel) 


47,592 / 200,000 

Sugar Storage  Warehouse (Private company: M&M) 


11,480 / 90,000 


Port operations are from Monday to Friday, operating in three shifts as follows: 1st shift:  07:00 to 14:30 Hours. 2nd shift: 14:30 to 21:30 Hours, 3rd shift: 21:30 to 07:00 Hours, 

  • Administration Monday thru Friday 8:00 to 16:00 hrs 
  • Non-Working days: New Year, From 14:30 hrs. December 31 to 07:00 hrs. January 02 
  • Holy Week: From 21:30 hrs. Holy Thursday to  07:00 hrs. Holy Saturday. 
  • International Worker´s Days. From 00:00 hrs. May 01 to 07:00 hrs. May 02. 
  • Christmas: From 14:30 hrs. December 24 to  07:00 hrs. to December 26. 

Hinterland Information 

Good road infrastructure provides a fast link to the Caribbean Sea coast. 

Port Security

The port is quite safe with fixed cameras installed in all the areas, 24/7 live monitoring through high resolution equipment. There is an Access Control System with digital fingerprints, biometric readers and mechanised vehicle barriers. It also has a maritime surveillance system and trained staff which performs regular port inspections. All this has led to greater port productivity.  

Gantry crane control cabins provide customers officials with access to 10 strategically located cameras, to supervise and control the codes of each container entering or leaving a ship. Recordings from the cameras are available for up to 90 days for internal use by the authorities to give greater traceability to container loading. 

Both maritime and land surveillance system, with highly trained personnel to perform access control, intrusive and non-intrusive inspections. The port has an integrated communication system via VHF marine radio band, mobile telephones, internet, internal network and vessel detection system.


ISPS Compliant


Current ISPS Level
(Level 1 = Normal, Level 2 = Heightened, Level 3 = Exceptional)


Police Boats


Fire Engines


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