Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta

From Global Energy Monitor

The Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta is a multi-purpose port in Santa Marta, Magdalena department, Colombia, with separate terminals for containers, bulk goods, general cargo and coal.

Operated by Carbosan, which is controlled by the Colombian-subsidiary of Dutch port operator LBH Group[1], the coal port has a direct loading system capable of loading 2200 metric tons of coal per hour[2] and a 47-foot deep harbor capable of receiving ships up to 110,000 tons DWT. According to company reports and industry news sources, the port has the capacity to handle 7 million tonnes of coal exports per year.[3][4]

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The Carbosan coal terminal (a division of Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta) handles coal exports for various Colombia-based mining companies that lack their own ports. Companies that have used Carbosan's port services in recent years include Goldman Sachs, which exported coal via Carbosan prior to acquiring Rio Cordoba coal port from Vale in 2012[5], and Pacific Coal, which signed a two-year deal with Carbosan for use of its port services in 2013-2015 while awaiting the opening of the new Puerto Brisa coal terminal.[6]

Carbosan's direct loading facilities were also suggested as an option for Colombian coal giant Drummond in late 2013 when it became apparent that the direct-loading facilities under construction at Drummond's own port would not be ready in time to meet the government-mandated deadline of January 1, 2014.[7]

According to a 2012 company report, Carbosan's long-term development plans for the period 2013-2033 are broken down into Phase 4, which would involve construction of a 16km railway to bring coal to the port (all coal is currently delivered by truck), and Phase 5, which would involve construction of an additional deep water pier capable of receiving capesize ships and loading coal at rates greater than 5000 tons per hour. Estimated cost would be $105 million for Phase 4 and $70 million for Phase 5.[3]

Thermal coal exports from Carbosan-Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta totaled 3.443 million tonnes in 2015[8], rising to 3.55 million tonnes in 2016[9] despite a three-week suspension of operations due to non-compliance with environmental regulations.[1][4]

During 2020, coal exports at the port remained relatively stable despite the economic impact of the pandemic,[10] but did suffer due to the drop in international price.[11]

Project Details

  • Operator: Carbosan / Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta S.A.
  • Location: Santa Marta, Magdalena department, Colombia
  • Annual Capacity (Tonnes): 7 million
  • Status: Operating
  • Type: Exports
  • Coal source: Colombia

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Colombia halts coal ops at Santa Marta terminal", BNAmericas, May 13, 2016.
  2. "Terminal de Carbón", Puerto de Santa Marta Sociedad Portuaria website, accessed January 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Fases de Carbosan", Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta, 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Coal loadings resume at Colombia's Carbosan port after ban is lifted", Platts, June 7, 2016.
  5. "Goldman Sachs front-runner for Vale's Colombian coal ops", Reuters, February 14, 2012.
  6. "Colombian Coal Prepares for Canal Expansion", Coal Age, November 22, 2013.
  7. "Drummond seeks Colombia coal loading extension", Argus Media, December 9, 2013.
  8. "Colombian 2015 thermal coal exports rise 7.6% on year to 80.64 million mt" Platts, Jan 11, 2016
  9. "Colombian thermal coal exports rise 9% in 2016 to record 88 mil mt" Platts, Jan 17, 2017
  10. Caracol Radio Santa Marta (2020-08-13). "Operaciones del Puerto de Santa Marta han sido estables durante la pandemia". Caracol Radio (in español). Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  11. Aliados Caracol (2021-07-21). "Puerto de Santa Marta arroja cifras de operación para la reactivación". Caracol Radio (in español). Retrieved 2021-07-21.

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