Port of La Guaira
Review and History

The Port of La Guaira lies on Venezuela's coastal zone at the foot of its central highlands about 30 kilometers by highway northwest of the country's capital, Caracas, and about 167 nautical miles west of Port Sucre. One of Venezuela's busiest ports, the Port of La Guaira handles much of the country's foreign trade, including imports of manufactured goods and exports of agricultural products. In 2001, about 19 thousand people lived in the Port of La Guaira.

Port History

Due to its proximity to Caracas, Spanish Governor Don Diego Osorio founded the Port of La Guaira in 1589 as an export point for products from Margarita, Cumana, Santo Domingo, and the Caribbean region. In 1601, Garcia Gonzalez traveled to the Port of La Guaira to select the most appropriate point for the main port and the defenses for the capital city.

In 1728, the Royal Guipuzcoana Company was established with a monopoly on trade for the Province of Venezuela that lasted until 1778. The company was authorized to develop the port, and construction began on a 58-meter long, 8-meter wide pier that could accommodate up to five vessels. In 1793, the ports of Venezuela came under the jurisdiction of the Consulate in Caracas. From 1842 until 1874, the facilities at the Port of La Guaira were frequently under repair.

In 1885, President Antonio Guzman Blanco entered into a contract for the construction of modern a port in the Bay of La Guaira. The agreement called for a 625-meter long breakwater, a basin of about 36 hectares, a 945-meter boardwalk, warehouses, cranes, railway service, and a lighthouse. The company became La Guaira Harbor Corporation Limited. In 1889, the first commercial vessel arrived from Germany at the Port of La Guaira carrying about 48 thousand metric tons of coffee.

From the late 19th Century until 1935, only basic repairs and maintenance activities were performed at the Port of La Guaira. In 1936, cargo volumes reached 200 thousand tons, and the Republic of Venezuela acquired the Port of La Guaira and its assets in 1937. Under President Eleazar Lopez Contreras' administration, many improvements were made in the Port of La Guaira. The modern breakwater was built in 1941. In 1944, a jetty and warehouse were constructed. In 1950, the south and west jetties and the passenger terminal were constructed, the docks were refurbished, and concrete silos were completed.

From 1972 until 1991, docks were constructed in the Port of La Guaira for containers and general cargo. New general cargo docks were constructed near the northern breakwater, and 60 thousand square meters of yards and warehouses were added.

In 1992, the National Port Authority was liquidated, and the Ports Corporation of Central Coast (with the Venezuelan Investment Corporation (IVF) of Central Coast as the sole shareholder) won the concession. The IVF was abolished in 2001, and the shares went into the Bank of Economic and Social Development of Venezuela.

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