The Port of Buenos Aires rests on an estuary of the Rio de la Plata in Argentina about 240 kilometers from the river's mouth to the Atlantic Ocean. An important seaport, the Port of Buenos Aires is about seven kilometers north-northwest of the Port of Dock Sud and about 56 kilometers west-northwest of the Port of La Plata. Its connections to Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay by a system of navigable rivers make it a distribution hub for much of the South American continent.
Argentina's Administracion General de Puertos (General Ports Administration), overseen by the Undersecretary for Ports and Waterways, is the port authority for the Port of Buenos Aires. As a state entity, the General Ports Administration is responsible for the administration, operation, and maintenance of all sea and river ports in the country and the enforcement of port-related laws and regulations.
The Port of Buenos Aires is divided into 2 areas, New Port (Puerto Nuevo) and South Port (Dock Sud) which are 7 km apart from each other (area in between is Puerto Madero which has been an urban development area in recent years and it is occupied with high rise buildings now). Although there are grain terminals in both, none are operational. New Port has 4 terminal concessions which are Terminales Rio De La Plata (DP WORLD majority stake holder), Terminal 4 S.A. (APM Terminals majority stake holder), BACTSSA – Buenos Aires Container Terminal Services S.A. (Hutchinson majority stake holder) and Voxen Tank Terminal. Concession was due for 2019 but it is extended till March 2020. 2109 is Presidential election year and current government has the intention to move the port out of the city centre and open space for urban development projects. On the other hand, Exolgan Terminal (PSA) in the South Port is not a concession and it is owned by the terminal operator.
As reference (September 2012), the limiting depth in the Main Channel between Recalada and Zona Común is approximately 10.50 m (34′ 4″) at datum in a channel width of 100 m. From Zona Común the limiting depth in the Access Channel is approximately 10.80 m (35′ 5″) in a channel width of 100 m. From km 12.0 to km 0 in the North Channel the limiting depth is approximately 10.36 m (34 ft) at datum in a channel width of 80 m. From km 6.8 to km 0.1 in the South Channel the limiting depth is approximately 10.20 m (33´5´´) at datum in a channel width of 90 m.
The Parana River carries enormous quantities of mud in suspension which slowly precipitates as the rate of flow decreases and the water spreads out into hundreds of rivers, streams and brooks that form the Parana Delta and eventually the River Plate. Since recording of the delta began in 1850, the edge of the islands has been growing southward at a rate of about 10 meters a year. So, dredging is a continuous effort here.
Majority of berths can accommodate vessels of LOA up to 200-250 meters. Only 2 positions available, one for vessels of LOA up to 270 meters and other for vessels of LOA up to 300 meters. Port Pilots are obligatory, with certain limited exceptions as stipulated by Prefectura Naval (Coast Guard) generally for Argentinian flag vessels and Argentinian shipowners operating foreign flag vessels.
Various private tugs companies operate at Buenos Aires, units’ powers ranging from 2400 up to 4100 HP and from 1200 up to 1800 HP. As per Coastguard regulations 2 tugs must be used on entering, sailing or shifting with variations and exceptions for vessels of LOA not exceeding 120 meters.
Tides are semi-diurnal, and the height of the tide can be notably influenced by the force, direction and persistency of the wind; so much so that, in the case of SE´ly gales (Sudestada) tides of 1 to 2 m (say 3 to 6 ft) above the tabulated values are not unusual. Also tides of several feet below the tabulated values can be experienced when steady N´ly winds set in. Additionally, somewhat lower tides can be experienced immediately following a prolonged blow from the South and somewhat higher tides following a prolonged blow from the North.
Manufacturing is an important component of the Port of Buenos Aires economy that produces meat, dairy, wool, leather, grain, and tobacco products, as are agricultural and industrial activities outside the city limits. Other major industries in the Port of Buenos Aires include oil refining, machine building, automobile manufacturing, and metalworking as well as manufacturing of textiles, clothing, beverages, and chemicals. The Pampa Humeda to the west of the Port of Buenos Aires is the richest agricultural area in Argentina.
Key port information may also be found at: http://www.maritime-database.com
Port Location and Contact
Province or District
Nearest Town or City with Distance from Port
Within Buenos Aires
Port's Complete Name
Puerto Buenos Aires
Managing Company or Port Authority
Administracion General de Puertos S.E. (New Port) and Delegación Dock Sud (South Port)
Management Contact Person
Gonzalo Mórtola (A.G.P.)
Nearest Airport and Airlines with Frequent International Arrivals/Departures
EZEIZA (MINISTRO PISTARINI) INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Aerolineas Argentinas, LATAM, Avianca, Gol, Copa Airlines, LAN, TAM, KLM, Air France, Alitalia, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, British Airways
Additional pictures from the port assessment mission are in this link.
Description and Contacts of Key Companies
|New Port Container & Multi-purpose Terminal Operators|
|New Port Tank Terminal||Voxen Almacenajes|
|Dock Sud Container Terminal Operator||Exolgan S.A.|
For contact information, please see the following links: 3 Argentina Contact List and Buenos Aires Port Companies.
There is no port congestion issue and number of vessel calls are on the decline due to reshaping of service structures and growing sizes of the vessels. Higher historical volumes are noted for July, August, September and December.
Major Import Campaigns
Higher historical volumes are noted for July, August, September and December. (Export & Import Total)
Handling Figures for 2017
Container Traffic (TEUs)
Handling Figures Bulk and Break Bulk for 2017
1,118,400 (All Liquid)
Break bulk (MT)
Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges
For information on port rates and charges, please see the following links:
Container (Multi-purpose) Terminals:
Type of Berth
Maximum Draft (m)
11 conventional berths
1178 m total
Covering New Port, South Port and Dock Sud all together. Terbasa is a grain terminal but it is not operational for years now. TRP Ex Basin A Northside (235 m) is reserve berth and it is included in the figures. TRP Berth 10 is for transhipment/barge/feeder operation and it is included in the figures. Oil and gas berths and jetties not included in mentioned figures.
16 container berths
4805 m total
Covering New Port, South Port and Dock Sud all together. Terbasa is a grain terminal but it is not operational for years now.
Berth Assignment: Requests are made directly to the terminals and the Port Administration (AGP) must also be kept informed. For all Dock Sud berths, application must be made to the Dock Sud authority (Delegación Dock Sud) and to the terminal operators via the ship’s agent. Free pratique: Must be requested by cable, telex or fax via ship’s agent but is only granted on the Port Health Doctor’s visit alongside. At the first port of call vessels must fly the “Q” flag on entry.
General Cargo Handling Berths
Imports - Bagged Cargo
TRP (Basin B North) / Dock Sud Berths 9 to 14 (West Side)
Exports - Bagged Cargo
TRP (Basin B North) / Dock Sud Berths 9 to 14 (West Side)
Imports and Exports - RoRo
Containers: TRP (Pier 1, Pier 2, Basin C South), Terminal 4 (Basin C-West, Basin C-North), Terbasa (Berth 1&2), BACTSSA (Basin D-West, Basin D-North, Pierhead No. 5), Exolgan (Frontage)
Ro-Ro: TRP (Pierhead 3)
Exports Liquid Tank Terminal Voxen operating from Basin E
Port Handling Equipment
Port handling equipment is managed privately. Port Equipment Container (Multi-purpose) Terminals are concessions to private terminal operators and equipment are managed privately. Public berths are managed directly government (port authority) but equipment is provided by private stevedoring companies.
Available services: Port Pilots, Tugs, Shore linesmen, launches, rat guards (80 cm, must), fenders (must), galley and hold refuse, fumigation, ship’s gangway watchmen (must for all foreign flag vessels over 2000GRT), repairs afloat (Coastguard and terminal permission required), dry-docks, divers, compass and direction finder adjustments, marine salvage, safety equipment, victuals–usual ship’s stores, bunkers and lub-oils, slops, electric power, shore cranes and dockside equipment (in addition to terminal operators, stevedoring companies outside these terminals have equipment and mobile cranes of varying lifting capacities are available for hire), floating cranes (Satecna 1, Magnus 6, Magnus 9), fresh water and port visits.
Total Quantity and Capacity Available
Comments on Current Condition and Actual Usage
Terminal 4 S.A. (2 X Ceretti Tanfanni, 35 MT capacity)
In actual usage and in working condition:
10 in total
Actual usage and working condition.
61 in total
RoRo Tug master (with Trailer)
Grain Elevator with Bagging Machines
62 RTGs in total
Mostly for the container blocks within terminals rather than railway operation.
68 in total
67 in total
EXOLGAN information is not available.
93 in total
EXOLGAN information is not available.
Main port activity in Buenos Aires Port is for containerized volumes. In 2017, almost 87% of the volumes moved are containerized cargo, excludingExolgan (PSA) Container Terminal figures(as it is technically not inside Buenos Aires Port).
- TRP (Terminal 1/2/3, DP World): 522,300 TEUs and 58.8% market share.
- BACTSSA (Terminal 5, Hutchinson): 205,900 TEUs and 23.2% market share.
- TERMINAL 4 (APM): 159,800 TEUs and 18 market share.
Please see below links for shipping lines and which strings are calling each terminal (Due to nature of the business this is updated frequently so only the links are provided):
- TRP: http://www.trp.com.ar/la-empresa/traficos
- TERMINAL 4: http://www.apm-terminals.com.ar/operadores_maritimos
- BACTSSA: http://www.bactssa.com.ar/terminal-on-line/proximos-arribos/
- EXOLGAN: http://www.exolgan.com/armadores.html
20 and 40 ft
Container Facilities Available
4 Container Terminals with a total of 16 berthing positions and 4805 meters quay with drafts in between 8,4-10,6 meters.
Container Freight Station (CFS)
BACTSSA and EXOLGAN are primary options for CFS operation.
TRP: Terminal 4, 3558 m2
Refrigerated Container Stations
Available in BACTSSA and EXOLGAN CFS.
Other Capacity Details
Daily Take Off Capacity
Number of Reefer Stations
Emergency Take-off Capacity
Off take Capacity of Gang Shift
DGA (Direccion General de Aduanas – General Customs Bureau) is operating under AFIP (Administracion Federal de Ingresos Publicos – Public Revenue Federal Administration) administration. Customs Work Hours: Mon-Fri 09:00-17:00.
Argentina is a member of MERCOSUR (Mercado Común del Sur). Mercosur was created in 1991 when Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed the Treaty of Asuncion, an accord calling for the “free movement of goods, services, and factors of production between countries.” The four countries agreed to eliminate customs duties, implement a common external tariff (CET) of 35 percent on certain imports from outside the bloc, and adopt a common trade policy toward outside countries and blocs. The charter members hoped to form a common market like European Union, and even considered introducing a common currency.
It is imperative to work with a well-recognized customs broker for smooth export customs clearance as it could be quiet bureaucratic process, yet customs services have much improved by the introduction of Maria online declaration system which all customs agents and terminals are connected to. Shipping lines needs to present export manifest prior to vessel sailing so any cargo that is not declared to customs 24-48 hours prior to ETS of subject vessel will risk cut-off and roll-over to the next call.
Speaking for containerized cargo, all export and import containers are x-rayed within the port terminals in accordance to customs regulations.
Inspection Harmonised System
Argentina uses the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System, generally referred to as the 'Harmonised System,' developed by the World Customs Organisation. The system comprises nearly 5,000 commodity groups, each identified by a six-digit code, and is utilised by m Argentine Customs, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance, has a three-tiered classification system related to goods inspection:
- Green: Customs clearance takes place without physical inspection.
- Orange: Only documentation is inspected.
- Red: Both goods and documents are inspected.
A form declaring quantities and composition of goods must also be provided to the Ministry of Industry ten days before clearing Customs. All documents presented to Argentinean authorities must be in Spanish or be accompanied with a translation from a certified translator. As a member of Mercosur, Argentina applies the common external tariff (CET), which is between around 0 and 20% for most products. Some automotive goods face a tariff up to 35%. Information technology and capital goods are temporarily exempt from the CET.
In addition to import tariffs, there are other fees, including:
- VAT of 10.5% or 21% on CIF. If imported goods are for resale, the rate is 5.5% or 10% VAT on CIF.
- Though there are some exceptions, there is a 0.5% statistics fee on CIF.
- A 3% of anticipated profit tax for retail goods.
- And a 1.5% gross income tax.
TRP and Terminal 4 are multi-purpose terminals. Exolgan is also able to handle RO-RO vessels.
Grain and Bulk Handling
There is only liquid bulk operation in Buenos Aires Port. 2017 volumes for grain shipments is zero. Voxen has 2 Tank Terminals inside the port area which are connected to the quay with pipelines. It can support combustible, vegetable oil, mineral oil, caustic soda, fertilizer, biodiesel shipments.
Voxen Terminal 1: Total 7000m3 Tank capacity with tanks 250 m3 to 500 m3, ships with LOA 200 M can be operated, heating for the tanks and pipes.
Voxen Terminal 2: It is construction is supposed to be started in 2016 with 13600 m3 tank capacity.
Main Storage Terminal
Main operation in Buenos Aires Port is for containerized cargo.
Number of Storage Facilities
Container terminals for reefer containers only
Flat rates are quoted by all terminal operators as also by private stevedoring companies operating at Dock Sud public berths.
Buenos Aires Port is connected to railways, road and cabotage services performing domestic sea transport in between Argentinian Ports. Trucks take the lead in inland connections. Trenes Argentinas Cargas (Belgrano Group) is main operator connecting the port to Northern Argentina, Northern Pampa and Central Pampa. Since 2011 export volumes arriving by wagons to the port increased from 3,341,000 tons to 7,374,000 tons (2017 figure). TRP is the main terminal with railway connectivity 7,104,000 tons with export connections were handled by TRP in 2017, T4 handled 269,000 tons and BACTSSA handled 1000 tons. Exolgan info n/a.
The Port Authority (AGP) has an ISPS department which oversees the fulfilment of ISPS codes and the coordination with respective security officers and Coastguard for all terminals including cruise terminal.
Applicable regulations: International code for the Protection of ships and port facilities (ISPS code).
Ordinance 4/2003 (DPSN) Law 22079.
Quality Management System (ISO 9001): Security and Environmental Control Department is committed to continually providing and improving inspection services to ensure compliance with the legal framework by the Permissions and Concessionaires of the Port Authority (AGP).
The following observations are valid for TRP only but it can be expected that similar security systems to be in place in other container terminals. It is possible to arrange port visit directly with terminal operator without providing full name and identification details in advance. They have more than 200 security cameras, drones for aerial surveillance and 365 days of video storage. Gates are monitored (CCTV), guarded (guards with radio) and all entries and exits are noted. Fingerprints are taken, biometrics used for entry and exit, all with full body rotating doors. Cruise Terminal is part of Terminal Rio De La Plata (DP World) which has main function a container terminal. Helmet and vest provided for terminal entry. All terminals have separate gates and there is no main port entry gate.
Container Terminals Certifications:
- TRP: ISO 28000 Security Management System for the Supply Chain, ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, ISO 9001 Quality Management System, ISO 50001 Energy Management System, OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System.
- TERMINAL 4: ISO 9001:2015
- BACTSSA: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001
- EXOLGAN: ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001:2007
Current ISPS Level