As opposed to many ports worldwide, the Port of Montevideo is not a consequence of its closeness to an important consumer and trade centre, but of a strategic geographical location naturally suitable for establishing a port. And the city of Montevideo originates in such circumstances.

The Port of Montevideo as we know it today implied great efforts for completion, which finally happened on August 25th, 1909, the date when it was officially opened. The opening ceremony was marked by a fatal incident occurred the day before, when the vessel named “Colombia” collided with bulk-carrier “Schlesien”, with a result of 85 casualties. The accident changed the course of the formal ceremony and all the festivities planned in advance for the occasion.

Montevideo’s strategic geographical location has turned it into the natural port of entry and exit for a wide hinterland of over 200 million in population. Its territory of influence – stretching over southern Brazil, the Parana-Paraguay waterway, all of Uruguay, and the south of Argentina – is currently a cornerstone and the development engine for the Port of Montevideo.

Uruguay has been a maritime country based on port activities from the start, which, with time, have come to be part of the State’s public policy. “Uruguay Logístico” [Uruguay Logistics] is a deeply-rooted concept in the country - at the official, corporate and union levels – that has facilitated the Port’s domestic and regional activity. The Free Port status approved by the national laws has been fundamental in turning Montevideo into the region’s logistic platform.

Free Port

Uruguayan Law allows for the inclusion of added value in goods in transit at the port’s customs area. To the extent that such addition does not modify the nature of the cargo, it is possible to divide, pack, stuff and pick it for its later distribution in regional markets, with no need for an importing process.

This also allows for transhipment operations without complicated documentation requirements and a great capability to quickly respond to specific needs. The legislation applied is one of the key aspects for the Port of Montevideo to become a regional transhipment centre.