Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

February 2011: Is Puerto Rico Missing the Boat?

An update on the Port of the Americas

Trade is increasingly important for the continued growth of the PR economy. Extensive and efficient infrastructure is also critical for the effective functioning of the economy. In addition, the quality and extent of infrastructure networks significantly impact economic growth. Puerto Rico needs both. Ports of entry are PR’s gateways to the world, enabling international commerce, immigration, and tourism. Ports provide a crucial link between land and sea transport. They also have an important social function, through the provision of jobs both directly and indirectly. As a supplier of jobs, ports do not only serve an economic but also a social function. However, since cargo nowadays is loaded and unloaded mechanically, the effects of changes in the amount of goods handled on local employment or the demand for port services is difficult to ascertain. Consequences of inaction or delay in improving trade-related infrastructure will have real costs to the economy. In this context, it is important to review why the Port of the Americas in Ponce has not taken off. Did we miss an opportunity?