Puerto Quetzal is located on the southwestern Pacific Ocean coast of Guatemala about 55 kilometers northwest of the border with El Salvador. It is Guatemala’s biggest Pacific Ocean port, important for both cargo and as a stop-over for cruise passengers, located about five kilometers east of Guatemala’s Port of San Jose.
The Empresa Portuaria Quetzal (Quetzal Port Company) is responsible for managing and administering Port Quetzal. Only 1300 kilometers north of the Panama Canal, Puerto Quetzal is connected to ports around the world. The port offers modern infrastructure, machinery, and equipment and specialized facilities that, combined, provide a complete set of harbor services for its customers.
In 1979, the government of the Republic of Guatemala recognized an urgent need for a modern port on its Pacific coast and created the Unit Executor of the Harbor Complex in the Pacific Coast (UNECPA) to oversee the construction of a new Pacific Ocean port.
In 1983, Puerto Quetzal opened with limited services, as port construction was still underway. By 1985, the first construction stage was completed, Puerto Quetzal was officially inaugurated, and the Empresa Portuaria Quetzal was created.
Today, Puerto Quetzal has complete facilities to serve ocean-going vessels of all types. The Commercial Wharf offers two berths for handling general cargo, two berths for handling solid and liquid bulk cargoes, and one multi-purpose roll-on/roll-off ramp. The Commercial Wharf is a total 810 meters long with alongside depth of 11 meters. Each berth is 202.5 meters long.
The Auxiliary Wharf has one berth on the north side for general cargo for vessels with minimal draught. The wharf is 170 meters long with alongside depth of five meters. Puerto Quetzal also has a service wharf for maintaining small vessels. It is 50 meters long with alongside depths from 5 to 11 meters. The Cruise Terminal at Puerto Quetzal has one dock berth that is 285 meters long with alongside depth of 12 meters.
The Coal Terminal has one berth with four dolphins for loading/unloading coal ore. Each dolphin is 10.7 meters long and 10.36 meters wide with alongside depth of 12 meters. The Gas Terminal has one berth with six mooring points and specialized connections for discharging liquefied petroleum gas.
Puerto Quetzal contains 437.6 thousand square meters of storage space, 5.6 thousand square meters of warehouse, eight thousand square meters of sheds, and an open storage area of 21.3 thousand square meters. An additional 2.1 thousand square meters is available for handling roll-on/roll-off cargoes, and 16.4 thousand square meters is available for vehicles.
Puerto Quetzal facilities can accommodate Panamax-size vessels and can serve carriers of solid and liquid bulk cargoes, containers, roll-on/roll-off cargoes, cruise fleets, fishing boats, sailboats, frigates, and recreational vessels. In 2007, Puerto Quetzal served 1,251 vessel calls and a total of 7.5 million tons of cargo, including 257.3 thousand TEUs of containerized cargo.
In 2007, Puerto Quetzal handled 5.4 million tons of imports, including:
The same year, 2007, Puerto Quetzal handled 2.1 million tons of exports, including:
The Commercial Wharf handled 4.3 million tons of imported cargo, including 2.5 million tons of solid bulk, one million tons of containerized cargo , 598.4 thousand tons of general cargo, and 232.3 thousand tons of liquid bulk. In the same year, the Commercial Wharf at Puerto Quetzal handled 2.1 million tons of exports, including 1.1 million tons of solid bulk, 785.8 thousand tons of containerized cargo, 212.7 thousand tons of general cargo, and 32.3 thousand tons of liquid bulk.