Aruba is at the center of world trade routes, making the Port of Oranjestad an important commercial hub with links to North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In addition to being a busy commercial center, the Port of Oranjestad is home to one of the Caribbean’s biggest oil refineries, the Valero Aruba Refining Company.
Open 24 hours a day, the Port of Oranjestad processes imports for the island’s population, serving containerized and transshipment cargo. In 2003, 216 vessels carried over 16 thousand container boxes through the port.
At low tide, the harbor is 33 feet deep. The Port of Oranjestad offers over four thousand feet of dock available for berthing. It handles containerized and non-containerized cargo, roll-on/roll-off and breakbulk cargo, gas, fuel, and aggregates.
The Aruba Ports Authority is responsible for managing the port and facilities. The cargo terminal covers 1.4 million square feet and has storage capacity for over 7500 TEUs of containerized cargo.
The Port of Oranjestad also has five berths for cruise vessels and three cruise terminals to welcome the many tourists that visit there each year. Since 2000, cruise activity has increased dramatically. In 1999, almost 300 thousand people arrived on cruise vessels: that number increased to over 600 thousand in 2006 and almost 500 thousand in 2007.