Cuba’s brand-new port of Mariel was officially opened on 27 January by President Raúl Castro of Cuba and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil.
Ironically, the first ship to call was from Port Everglades in South Florida. The Jacksonville-based operator Crowley Liner Services brought around 50 containers to Mariel under a waiver to the 50-year-old trade embargo imposed by the USA.
Slated to replace Havana as Cuba’s main port, Mariel port is Cuba’s largest infrastructure project for decades. It was financed mainly by Brazil and built by the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. The port has a special development zone covering 180 square miles with tax beaks and other incentives available for businesses.