Iquique, Chile

Iquique has a longstanding history as one of the major trading cities in Chile since the 1800’s. Originally the center of the saltpeter and mining industry, today the port of Iquique is one of only 2 free ports in Chile. Its location in northern Chile provides access and international shipping services to some of the region’s most important economies. Originally a part of Peru, the city became a part of Chile in the late 1800’s and brought with it a bustling mining industry. Today the port is known for being one of the largest duty free ports in South America with a large free zone occupied by a variety of businesses. In the early 2000’s additional cranes were brought into the port in order to handle oversized, breakbulk and heavy machinery shipping services into Iquique.

In 2004 Chile entered a trade agreement with the United States which led to a 500% increase in the total number of goods shipped between the countries. The major goods shipped to the Chilean market from the United States include machinery, vehicles and aircraft. The success of the port has led to a plan valued at over $80 million to expand the port. The port has seen an increase in container and overseas car shipping services and will need updates in order to handle today’s large vessels. The expansion will make the port deeper and increase the overall size and capacity of the port. Although Iquique is the 5th largest port in Chile, its importance to northern Chile and surrounding areas is vital. The port has created an agreement with neighboring Bolivia to use the port as the major throughway for Bolivian goods.

Some notable features of the port of Iquique, Chile:

  • The port expansion project hopes to make the port of Iquique not only the #1 port in northern Chile, but also the main port of entry for Bolivia.
  • The port of Iquique is scheduled to receive 2 cranes capable of handling the world’s largest ships in order to provide better international shipping services into northern Chile.
  • Iquique is the main port in northern Chile for roll-on / roll-off cargo including the international automobile shipping and construction equipment shipping services into Chile from various parts of the world.
  • Chile imports over $3 billion worth of machinery and automobiles from the USA every year, with international heavy equipment shipping services entering the port in Iquique on roll-on / roll-off and breakbulk vessels. Vehicle shipments are also shipped to Iquique in containers.

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