The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending USD 41.6 million (EUR 28.3 million) to Terminal Cuenca de la Plata S.A. and Nelsury SA – subsidiaries of the Katoen Natie group (Belgium) – for the expansion of the private container terminal of Montevideo (Uruguay). 

The finance contract was signed today in Antwerp by EIB President Philippe Maystadt and Ferdinand Huts, Chairman of the Katoen Natie group, with the guarantee and indemnity agreement to cover the commercial risk relating to the project being signed by Brigitte Boone, CEO of the Commercial and Investment Banking arm of Fortis Bank.

The project will help to implement Uruguay’s ports strategy aimed at providing the port of Montevideo with the facilities needed to play a major role as a regional hub for container transshipment cargo.

The project consists of the design and construction of a 350 m extension of the existing quay at the private container terminal of Montevideo port, the dredging of a new berth, the reclamation of around 11.5 ha of land, the provision of terminal yard infrastructure (paving, drainage and service networks) and the supply and installation of container handling equipment, including three additional Post-Panamax gantry cranes. The new facilities are expected to be operational by the second half of 2009.

In line with the European Council Decision of 19 December 2006 governing the Bank’s operations in Partner Countries, the project will help support the EU’s presence in Latin America through foreign direct investment and the transfer of technology and know-how. Additionally, by increasing the capacity of the port it will contribute to the economic development of Uruguay.

This is the second loan provided by the EIB in Uruguay. In 1997, the Bank financed the afforestation of 25 000 ha with eucalyptus in the country with a loan of EUR 10 million.


Outside the EU, the Bank contributes to EU development and cooperation policy in some 120 countries in Asia and Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Mediterranean region, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Since 1993 the EIB has implemented four successive lending mandates for Asia and Latin America. Under the current mandate (ALA IV), covering the period 2007-2013, the EIB is authorised to lend up to EUR 3.8 billion to finance operations supporting EU cooperation strategies and complementing other EU development and cooperation programmes and instruments in these regions. The EUR 3.8 billion regional ceiling is broken down into indicative sub-ceilings of EUR 2.8 billion for Latin America and EUR 1 billion for Asia.