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Ecuador´s major exports and imports-Header.jpg

Major 10 Ports in Ecuador

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Updated on 10 Jan 2024
6 min read
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Ecuador familiarly sounds like the equator and, in Spanish, its name is loosely translated to mean the republic of the equator. This is because Ecuador straddles the Equator on the South which gives it an amazing landscape of azure waters and Amazonian forests coexisting harmoniously together.

Importing and exporting in Ecuador is a main staple of the country’s economy, making the following ports crucial to the country.

1. Port of Guayaquil

This is one of the largest ports in the country and is the country’s main port. Located in the city of Guayas which is in the west bank of the Guayas River, the port is able to handle a lot of the import and export traffic that comes from the pacific ocean since the river flows into the pacific. The port of Guayaquil is a commercial port more than a tourism port.

The city of Guayas has always been dependent of formal and informal trade for their economy and they trade in both aquaculture and agriculture. The export and import goods and products pass through the port of Guayaquil because most of the related industries are located within the city or its periphery. This port is one of the most active ports by virtue of being in the Gulf of Guayaquil and it handles 90% of the country’s imports and 50% of the country’s exports.

2. Port of Esmeraldas

This port sits in Northwestern Ecuador at the mouth of the River Esmeraldas. From its vantage point it has taken occupied the position of the principal hub for exporting lumber, agricultural resources and other products. It is also the terminus for the Trans-Ecuadorian pipeline bringing in oil from the country’s oil fields in the North east.

The Balao terminal is the oil processing facility for the port of Esmeraldas. With oil being the largest employer, this port is a source of income for a lot of Ecuadorians living in the Northwestern hemisphere of the country. Overall, the port of Esmeraldas handles over 11% of the cargo moved in the country and roughly over 800 thousand metric tones of the cargo annually.

3. Port of Bolivar

Also known as Puerto Bolivar and located in El Oro, this port is handles Ecuador’s lucrative banana export industry and is also the port used for shrimp exportation. The El Oro province lies in the middle of the banana farm belt of Ecuador. The annual production of 3 million tons of bananas keeps the port busy in addition to exporting other cargo like concentrated copper and paper pulp.

The reason this port is popular for such perishable goods is because it features one of the country’s most stable container freight operations making it the safest place for containerized export products. Most of the bananas exported via port of Bolivar are headed for the European market.

4. Port of Manta

The port of Manta is well known in the country as the port of tourism. This is where the cruise ships tend to berth because the port has access to the best pre-colombian historic sites and it is also close to the international airport: Eloy Alfaro International Airport. It is also home to the best water sports in Latin America from surfing to scuba diving and water skiing. Manta hosted the 2004 bodyboarding world cup in 2004and it is also recognized as an art loving city even hosting international film festivals.

But the port of Manta is also a trading port for the region fishing industry since the main economic activity in the Manta region is tuna fishing. This port brings passengers from all over the world to enjoy some of South America’s most outstanding beaches and seafood.

5. Port of Bahia de Caraquez

Bahia de Caraquez, officially known as San Antonio de Caraquez, is found in the province of Manabi. The port is located at the mouth of the Rio Chone and is also home to a lot of cruise ships and tourist. It’s close to the port of Manta and receives a lot of tourist traffic from the cities of Guayaquil and Quito. In the city, one will find an archeological museum displaying ancient artifacts from the manabi region.

Apart from being home to cruise ships it is also the port of call for the exportation of shrimp. In Bahia de Caraquez, the primary economic activity is the fattening of shrimp held in captivity for the purpose of exportation. The Chone river hosts 6,000 hectares of the pools cultivated for the fattening of shrimp.

6. Port of San Lorenzo

The port of San Lorenzo is located in the province of Esmeralda, right in the north of the town. Due to this, is closer to the Panama Channel, giving this port a strategic point on international trade.

Wood and tourism are the main uses of this ecuatorian port. For some experts, is even in a greater situation than Guayaquil ports, the biggest of the country.

7. Port of La Libertad

The La Libertad´s Oil Terminal is located on the Santa Elena Peninsula 140 km west of the city of Guayaquil and 5 miles east of the Santa Elena Lighthouse. It´s main propouse is to reviece and manage refined petroleum, along with other ports of the country.

8. Port of Salinas

Located in the province of Santa Elena, this port is mainly focused in tourism passengers. Also, due to its proximity to other large ports such as Manta, it hardly receives commercial cargo. However, the port of Salinas is a great destiny to include for tourist companies.

9. Port of Balao

Close to the province of Esmeralda, the port of Bolao is responsable for a big amount of the petroleum imports. In order to don´t generate enviromental issues, this ports holds an important list of certified assets and procedures.

Its oil mechanism has a 26 ”diameter pipeline with a length of 77.4 kilometers between the provinces of Quinindé and Balao. It can mobilize more than 158,000 barrels of crude.

10. Port of Tunguraha

Located in the province of Montalvo, the port of Tunguraha is mainly focus on fluvial ships and fish industry. Its size does not permit bigger movements of cargo, and usually is full of small fishing boats

Ecuador is the 62nd largest export economy in the world and this is thanks to their agricultural resources and the fishing industry. These ports have played a major role in making the Ecuadorian economy the eight largest in the Latin America.

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