Port of Colonia: Physical Infrastructure



The Port of Colonia is located 177 km away from Montevideo, on the coast of the River Plate, in the department of Colonia. As the main port of the country in terms of transport of passengers and vehicles, it connects with daily services the cities of Colonia and Buenos Aires. Colonia has a free zone, the “Colonia Free Zone”, and has a population of over 115,000 inhabitants. It is a preferred tourist destination and an entry and exit point for tourists traveling to and from Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Punta del Este.




Colonia is a city of historical interest, since Colonia del Sacramento, an ancient Portuguese stronghold of the 18th century, was recently declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.


Current Infrastructure

The Port of Colonia has three U-shaped concrete docks, which are sheltered to the south by a breakwater. The overseas dock is 146 meters long and is rail linked, while the cabotage dock is 115 meters long and the linking dock is 200 meters in length.

The Port of Colonia has two electric cranes with a lifting capacity of three tonnes and a third one of five tonnes, cargo handling equipment and two electric ramps for trucks and automobiles.



Works and projects


Colonia is a tourist destination and an entry and exit point for passengers traveling to and from Buenos Aires. Currently it has a 

state-of-the-art Passenger Terminal, which will receive millions of passengers every year. The final investment will be approximately 12 million dollars. This project entails progress and development, which was necessary for the city of Colonia as the main gateway for tourists coming to the country. The extension of the port to the west is under consideration due to the constant growth of vehicle and passenger circulation. Two electric cranes located at the overseas dock have been adapted and the linking dock has been repaired for the first time in approximately fifty years.



The new river and sea transport terminal in the Port of Colonia and its contribution to development


The construction of a new river and sea transport terminal creates a center to organize and connect the different means of transport of vehicles and passengers, as well as an opportunity for urban and commercial development in its hinterland. It is a good way to solve problems related to passenger traffic to the benefit of users, society and the city where it is located. This goal can be efficiently achieved through proposals and studies that take into account urban, socio-economic and financial aspects.



Description of the project and the surroundings


It is set in a large public building, which has two main levels and a covered area of approximately 7,000 m2, with plenty of space for maritime passenger transport operators and support services, as well as all cargo and luggage control tasks. It has ticket sales points, checkpoints (migration, customs, etc.) and support areas (foreign currency exchange office, cafeteria, duty-free shop, etc.). The open areas include parking lots for private vehicles and vehicles for transporting passengers. The surrounding area is approximately 20,000 m2.



Investment made by ANP in the Project


 Approximately USD 6,000,000



Works Start Date


October 2007



Terminal Opening Date


December 15th, 2009



Other main improvements resulting from the terminal include: 


        * Simplification and reduction of the procedures for migration and customs controls.

        * Improvement of the classification of the multiple circulations within and outside the   


        * Gathering of related and support services, which will improve performance.

        * Improvement of landscaping and green spaces.

        * Improvement of the city and port environmental management.

        * Improvement of security in all aspects.


The new Terminal, planned and built based on duly assessed investment projects, taking into account every possible variable, will result in good practices. Moreover, the transport companies and users will benefit from lower overall costs and a better service. River transportation of passengers in the River Plate has experienced an annual growth of 10% to 15% in the last few years. The Terminal is seen as a center to organize and connect the means of transport for vehicles and passengers, as well as a place that catalyzes proposals for urban and commercial development in its hinterland.