Ecuador - 2.1.1 Port of Esmeraldas

Port Overview 

This port is located in the northwest of Ecuador at the mouth of the Esmeraldas River. 

From its privileged position, it has occupied the position of main export center for wood, agricultural resources and other products. It is also the terminal of the Trans-Ecuadorian pipeline that transports oil from the oil fields in the northeast of the country. It is located in the northern part of Ecuador in the Province of Esmeraldas, next to the mouth of the river of the same name. 

It stands out for being a multipurpose port, with direct access from the open sea, sheltered in a 32-hectare dock, which has protection of two breakwaters, which prevents the port from being affected by storm surges, which allows great manoeuvrability and docking of ships, and which also has qualified towing and pilotage services. 


Its management is in charge of the Esmeraldas Port Authority, as a commercial and fishing port. The average annual temperature is 25.6 °C. With (738 mm of average annual rainfall producing its maximum in January, February and March. The prevailing winds are W and NW. 


The Puerto de Esmeraldas has the following characteristics and services: 


• Infrastructure and equipment for handling project-type loads. 

• Operational flexibility and administrative efficiency 

• Comprehensive security: port qualified with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), Zero Theft and the Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC) Certification, in the process of ISO 9,000 and 28,000 certification. 

• Electricity and drinking water service 24 hours a day 

• Customs agility. 

• Regular lines with easy connections to the whole world. 

• Proximity to the main industrial and commercial centres of the country. 

• Communication routes in optimal condition and alternate routes. 

• Personalized attention 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 


It has two 200-meter long breakwater docks with the capacity to receive 4 vessels simultaneously, that is, 800 linear meters of berths for the operation of container ships, bulk carriers, carts, fishing vessels and cruise ships. Both docks have a platform width of 45 meters each. It also has another 620 linear meters for exclusively fishing and cabotage activities. Its dock has 110 hectares protected by a breakwater that allows for quick and comfortable arrival, loading and unloading of vessels. 

Storage: It has 120,980 m2 (twelve hectares) for storage, between patios and a covered warehouse. 

Access: Access to the Port is direct from a natural depression in the seabed that reaches up to 200 meters from the port entrance. The area where the docks are located is protected by breakwaters, which frame a 42-hectare basin. 

Puerto website:  

Key port information may also be found at: 


Port Location and Contact 



Province or District 


Nearest Town or City 

with Distance from Port 

Esmeraldas (4 km) 

Port's Complete Name 

Puerto de Esmeraldas 





Managing Company or Port Authority 


Autoridad Portuaria Esmeraldas 

Management Contact Person 

Ingº Fernando Xavier Moncayo Raad – General Manager - Autoridad Portuaria de Esmeraldas  

Teléfonos: 062 715757   062 721354  

Tel. 062 722367 Ext.:463-464 

Atención al Cliente y Comercialización  

Tel. 062 721354 Ext.:470-471  

Tel: 062 721354  Ext: 472-473 


Nearest Airport and Airlines with Frequent International Arrivals/Departures 

Aeropuerto Internacional Coronel Carlos Concha Torres 


Port Picture 



Description and Contacts of Key Companies 




Email Address 





Water and nursery provision 




Cargo Inspection 



Berth cleaning 



Supply of fuel, lubricants and water per vessel 







Cargo inspection 




Maintenance of vessels and equipment, provision of supplies, provision of nurseries 

046002160 042103659 


Vessel fuel supply 




Stowing, re-stowing and de-stowing 



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


Port Performance 

In the western port area, there are extensive facilities for loading and unloading fuel oil, gasoline, diesel and kerosene. Primary exports consist of bananas and wood, while main imports are pipes, machinery and steel billets. The port has capacity for ships weighing between 40,000 and 100,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT). There is a Free Zone that houses companies and shipping companies adjacent to the port facility. 

Access cannel 

General characteristics Access to the port terminal is almost directly from the sea. Latitude: 01°01' 45''North (N) Longitude: -79°39'6''West (W). 

The access channel has the following characteristics: 

From the sea buoy 2 miles to the entrance to the pier. Width: 200 meters. (656.2 feet) - Depth: 11.5 m. (37.8 feet) Average tide width at the entrance: 1.80 m. Average width of the tide at the foot of the pier: 3.80 m. 

Navigation aid systems 

The channel has depths greater than 11.5 meters. Regarding the minimum level of low tides and allows quick and safe navigation, with an adequate navigation aid system. The tranquility of its waters and the excellent climatic conditions of the port guarantee its operation 365 days a year. 


Esmeraldas / Tepre has bunker available for the following grades: MGO at $1320.5 per ton, and the last price update was on Friday, August 11, 2023. 


Seasonal Constraints 



Time Frame 

Rainy Season 


From December to March, although this can vary constantly. 

Major Import Campaigns 



Other Comments 

The tranquillity of its waters and the excellent climatic conditions in the port area guarantee its operation 365 days a year. 


Handling Figures for 2022 

Vessel Calls 

Docking of 33 vessels in the first four months of 2022, compared to the 15 vessels entered in the same period in 2021. (Comparative note: 2012, 312 vessels, 2013 294 vessels, 2014 256, 2019 142 vessels.) 

Container Traffic (TEUs) 



(Max. Cap. Installed in port-terminal relationship 850 TEU's) 


Handling Figures Bulk and Break Bulk for 2022 

Bulk (MT) 

Liquid bulk occupied the number one position in “type” of manoeuvre cargo (Palm and Soybean oil) with 92,000 MT. Exports, mostly coconut oil, have reached 25,991 tons, exceeding the 14,315 tons recorded in January to April in 2021 

Others, Solid bulk (PetCoke and Scrap) with 83,000 MT 

Break bulk (MT) 

Carga total en importación y exportación de 134 339 toneladas hasta abril 2022. 

Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges 

For information on port rates and charges, visit: Puerto de Esmeraldas website.  


Berthing Specifications 

It has a 200 m long breakwater, a 350 m long general cargo dock and a 185 m long container dock with a depth of 11 m. An additional dock accommodates fishing boats and barges and carries out cabotage activities. 


Type of Berth 





Draft (m) 


Conventional Berth 




Container Berth 




Silo Berth 





Berthing Tugs 



Two azimuthal stern drive (ASD) tugs from Damen Shipyards to support oil tankers and other vessels entering port. 

Water Barges 






General Cargo Handling Berths 

Cargo Type 

Berth Identification 

Imports - Bagged Cargo 


Exports - Bagged Cargo 

Exports, mostly of coconut oil, have reached 25,991 tons, exceeding the 14,315 tons recorded from January to April in 2021. 

Imports and Exports - RoRo 

Imported 5,416 units of vehicles, vehicle cargo with 27,000 MT (cars and machinery)  [Comparative note: in 2018 more than 11,000 vehicles were imported] 

Other Imports 

Containers, general cargo, liquid and solid bulk, vehicles, pipes, spare parts, CKD, iron, steel, oil equipment and iron scrap. 


Port Handling Equipment 




Total Quantity and Capacity Available 

Comments on Current Condition and Actual Usage 

Dockside Crane 




Container Gantries 




Mobile Cranes 


1 DEMAC AC-400,  


1 DEMAC crane super transporter for AC-400 

1 Terex x 80 ton 

Only for patio manouvres  0-24 Ton Lifts,  25-49 Ton Lifts,  50-100 Ton Lifts 



1 x 45 ton, 1 x 10 ton, 2 toploaders x 40 ton, 1 Terex x 45 tons 

Hyster, Terex, operational 


For loading full container and empty container. 

RoRo Tugmaster (with Trailer) 



20 meter long Roll-on Roll-off dock for rolling loading and unloading located adjacent to the main dock 

Grain Elevator with Bagging Machines 






5 x 40 tons 

Kodiak Chevrolet, operational, for container yard maneuvers. 



1 x 2.5 ton,1 x 3.5 ton,  1 x 7ton, 3 x 10 ton, 1 x16 ton, 

CPCD70, CPCD100, CPCD160A, CPQD25, CPCD3.5 


Container Facilities 

Currently, a container yard has been improvised in this port with an area of ​​four hectares, without its own backup dock and using the system of equipment to handle ship-port containers, with the ships' own cranes for embarkation and disembarkation. tractor-trailer for movement, and reachstaker type front loaders for stacking in the storage area, which causes downtime and delay of the ship in port, as well as loss of efficiency in stacking due to the large manoeuvrability space. you need a reachstaker. To handle an appreciable volume of containers that the Port of Esmeraldas presents, the problems of dock congestion must be overcome. 



20 ft 

40 ft 

Container Facilities Available 



Container Freight Station (CFS) 



Refrigerated Container Stations 



Other Capacity Details 



Daily Take Off Capacity  
(Containers per Day)  

252, total 


Number of Reefer Stations  
(Connection Points) 



Emergency Take-off Capacity  



Off take Capacity of Gang Shift  
(Containers per Shift)  



Customs Guidance 

For import procedures, the following documentation/information will be required at the service windows of the Billing Department to obtain a gate pass: 

The cargo number authorized by SENAE. 

For procedures with SENAE authorizations through administrative acts, you must present a copy of the document. 

Exit Authorization Letter (CAS) (Electronic or Physical) 

Copy of the Bill of Lading (BL), for the cases of General Cargo and Loose Cargo 

Information of the transport company, or name of the driver and license plate of the vehicle that will collect the load 

This documentation will be required by the access control booths before access. 

The gate pass may also be issued to the customs agent/assistant or other personnel authorized by the importer to carry out customs formalities. 

The requirements of the “Port Security Manual for the Issuance of Credentials and Provisional Permits” must be met. 

For cargo dispatch, warehouses have a scheduled delivery service with assigned shifts, taking into account the following aspects: 

Depending on availability, the customer chooses the most convenient shift to pick up their load. Shifts include the earliest and latest pick-up times. 

In the event that a client misses their turn (that is, does not arrive at the assigned time), it is possible to request another one the same day at the access control booths. 

For cases of Direct Debit (DD) or Advance Clearance (DA), verify that the customs procedure has been authorized and the operation is scheduled in the Customer Service Department. 


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


Terminal Information 


Multipurpose terminal, with direct access from the open sea, sheltered in a dock, which allows great manoeuvrability and docking of ships. Its geostrategic location is of importance in relation to the Asian markets, being equidistant from those of the South, Central and North America. It is a Multipurpose Port, the facilities facilitate access for all types of vessels, guaranteeing easy manoeuvring of vessels and loading, unloading and provisioning operations, as well as appropriate safety and mobility conditions for the arrival of cruise ships and tourists. 



This medium-sized general and bulk cargo port is favourably positioned for shipping lumber, agricultural products, raw materials and consumer goods. It is the terminal of the trans-Ecuadorian oil pipeline linked to the oil fields in the northeast of the country. About 12 percent of the country's international trade is carried out through the port, with a total of 850,000 tons of cargo annually. 


Since the port does not typically handle bulk grain, cargo must be bagged for storage or transported directly by truck out of the port (4 hoppers are available for loading loose grain onto trucks directly from the ship). The solid bulk cargo handled at the port is entirely non-food cargo: Import of steel pellets and crushed scrap and export of wood chips. All of this cargo is stored in open yard facilities. 



It has 120,980 m2 (twelve hectares) for storage, including patios and a covered warehouse. 


Storage capacity is limited, but it has not yet reached its end; However, large quantities of empty containers, stacked 4 high, occupy approximately 25% of the yard's total capacity. Two warehouses (7,200 m² and 1,500 m²) are currently used for the storage of steel coils and bags of cement. In an emergency, warehouses can be emptied and reused after intensive floor cleaning and roof repair. 



There is ample storage space, including a 12-hectare paved area between the patios and the basement. 


Storage Type 

Number of Storage Facilities 

Area (m2) 

Bagged Cargo 


Refrigerated Cargo 



General Cargo 




The Esmeraldas Port Terminal offers the stowage and unloading service. The port has adequate equipment and material, duly certified, which guarantees safety and efficiency in cargo handling. Various types of cargo are handled such as containers, agricultural products, general cargo, vehicles, machinery and project cargo. The stevedoring operation is carried out by private companies, classified and regulated by the National Government. The list and ranking of operators is carried out according to the type of activities and services they provide to the terminals (cargo handling, pilotage, towing, dredging, port storage and other activities). 

Hinterland Information 

By landway: 

The road conditions of access to the Esmeraldas province are regular. In case of interruption of access routes, the state intervenes with priority to restore light and heavy traffic to and from the port sector, however, there are possible rock falls, problems with unstable slopes and settlements on the road. 

The Quinindé-Esmeraldas section, on the E-20 highway, has at least 28 critical points: sinkholes, cuts in the asphalt layer and collapsed sewers have become a risk for drivers who travel daily along the main access route to the capital. The Quinindé road is in poor condition, with a lack of signage and luminosity at night. The most critical area is located in the El Vergel area, where there is an undermining of the land, which has forced a variant of the road to be enabled to allow the passage of the nearly 18,000 vehicles that travel on this road every day. 

On the “Y” highway of Tababuela – San Lorenzo – Esmeraldas – Pedernales, there is an activated geological fault in the San Gerónimo sector, between Salinas and Lita. The roads in the northern area will be monitored through the GPS system of the road patrols, which in case of emergencies will mobilize the necessary road equipment. 

For more information on feasibility consult: ECU 911 Consult about ways 

By sea: 

Ecuador has implemented the maritime security requirements contained in Chapter XI-2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of ​​1974 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) through the Law of Merchant Marine of 2004 and the Maritime Safety Regulations of 2004. These regulations apply to all seaports in Ecuador and to passenger ships, cargo ships of 500 GRT or more and mobile offshore drilling units on international voyages. 

Port Security 

Comprehensive security: port qualified with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), Zero Theft and the Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC) Certification, in the process of ISO 9,000 and 28,000 certification. Security Level 1 applies in territorial waters and maritime ports of Ecuador. Any change in the level of security or its area of ​​application will be communicated through notices to mariners, nautical advisories, circulars, VHF communication or any other appropriate means. 



ISPS Compliant 


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

Police Boats 


Fire Engines 



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