DP World Lirquén is the main public-service private port in the country, and it is located in the Bay of Concepción, 500 kilometers to the south of Santiago, in the Bío Bío Region of Chile.
It currently has an installed capacity of close to 7,000,000 tons m3 thanks to its six docking sites and the greatest area of yards and warehouses in the region. This, along with its human team, equipment, and technology, converts us into a highly efficient multipurpose terminal.
Its beginnings date back to the middle of last century. In 1953, the old Lirquén coal industry decided to extend its pier to allow ships to dock directly there, thus avoiding the use of barges to load the coal. At the beginning, charcoal extracted from the mines was loaded, as well as phosphorite, and sugar in sacks.
Coal shipments ended shortly afterwards, and in 1958, they were replaced with wheat and bulk fertilizer unloading, with the fertilizer coming in from the United States. At this same time, the first shipments of sawn timber appeared, and some years later, of paper and cellulose. From then on, timber products became the main cargo transported in the Port of Lirquén and the other ports in the region.
In 1984, the pier was expanded from 1 to 4 sites, which allowed the cargo moved through the port between 1984 and 1989 to triple, and 2,000,000 tons were surpassed for the very first time.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the first container services began to arrive to the region, and what was known at that time as the Port of Lirquén was the pioneer in the region in servicing ships of this kind. Beginning in 1993, the movement of containers in the region began to grow constantly, with sustained increases in recent years.
During the same period, the forestry industry began to display a trend towards the production of added-value products such as boards, dried timber, and remanufactured wood in general, all of which heavily used containers. In terms of shipping companies, ships were featuring a growing draft, length, and beam.
All of this means there have been changes in the infrastructure and port equipment, due to the greater need for roofed areas on uncovered yards, the greater importance of ensuring a docking site upon arrival to be able to attend to the container ships in a timely manner, which must comply with a predetermined itinerary, the constant need of the shipowners of higher performance, and the need for greater drafts authorized at the sites to be able to operate the large lumber ships.
As such, pier No. 2 was built in 1995-1996 with two docking sites and drafts authorized of up to 50.8 feet. Afterwards, this very same pier was widened to permit operation of the two mobile cranes that were purchased in 2000 for handling containers at high speeds. New yards were set up and other existing ones were paved. New warehouses were built for storing cellulose, dried timber, remanufactured wood, and boards, primarily, and a major fleet of machinery was purchased to increase our operating capacity. Lastly, modern technology has gradually been incorporated into the operation of each type of load, which has made it possible for operation to be safer and more efficient from the time of receipt until shipping.
During the following years, the infrastructure in docks and storage areas continued to grow in order to cope with the increase in cargo volumes, reaching today 250,000 m2 of container yards, 135,000 m2 of warehouses and yards for cargo services and with the capacity to receive vessels of up to 367 meters in length, the largest ones currently reaching the west coast of South America.
At the beginning of 2019, DP World became the majority shareholder of Puertos y Logística S.A. (Pulogsa), parent company of Puerto Central in San Antonio, Valparaiso Region, and Puerto Lirquén, in the Bay of Concepción, Biobío Region, which are two of the main multipurpose terminals in the country.
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