Manzanillo is emerging as an energy hub in the DR

The natural gas electric complex alone will have an installed capacity of 840 megawatts.

Manzanillo, in the province of Montecristi, has followed in the footsteps of Pedernales, in the Southwest, as one of the main geoeconomic and strategic areas of the Dominican Republic for the attraction of local and foreign investment. Sectors such as tourism, clean energy, logistics, maritime transportation and agricultural and industrial development, among others, are among the main bets to support its development.

The Government, which in both cases has been attentive to follow the legal provisions regarding the participation of the communities, the social license, and to comply with everything related to the protection of the environment and protected areas, has held meetings with leaders and representatives of the communities since it announced the preparation of a master plan to develop Manzanillo.

The construction of the port alone, considered to be the deepest in the country, involves an investment of at least Manzanillo como Centro Energico de RDUS$100 million, with a length of 220 meters long by 40 meters wide, with a depth of 15 meters and the capacity to receive Panamax and Postpanamax vessels simultaneously. The resources for this project are guaranteed through a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).


According to the project, presented in April last year by the Ministries of the Presidency (Minpre), Foreign Affairs (Mirex), Public Works and Communications (MOPC) and the Dominican Port Authority (Apordom), the investment will be distributed in four components that make up the program, the first being the port.

This is allocated US$46 million for the financing of the cargo port, rehabilitation of the basic structure of the logistics area, internal roads, perimeter security and protection works for the protected areas.

Connectivity investments are the second component, with an allocation of US$44 million to improve the roads that connect to the port’s productive areas. The third and fourth components respond to the strengthening of port management and socio-environmental aspects, with amounts of US$6.0 million and US$4.0 million, respectively.

Another sector included in the master plan for the development of Manzanillo is energy, starting with the construction of two natural gas-fired power plants of 420 megawatts (MW) each, for a total capacity of 840 MW. The estimated investment in this project is US$1.75 billion.

President Luis Abinader was present at the start of construction of the power plant, while the Minister of Energy and Mines, Antonio Almonte, said that the project will become the most important energy production mode in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. “One of the highlights of this private capital project is that it will have a tank for storage and regasification of 200,000 cubic meters of liquid natural gas (LNG). This means that, as a country, we will be resilient to any adverse market situation”, said Almonte.

The project was designed in two blocks. The first is composed of the gas terminal and a 420 MW combined cycle gas turbine plant, awarded to Manzanillo Gas & Power, a consortium made up of Haina Investment Company (HIC), Shell Gas & Power Development (Shell) and Energía de las Américas (Enerla).

The second block will install a 420 MW combined cycle gas turbine plant, awarded to Manzanillo Energy, composed of Coastal Dominicana, Manzanillo Energy and Lindsayca. “For the first time in history, the Dominican government has a solid and long-term energy strategy by creating the second largest gas terminal in the Dominican Republic, as part of the Manzanillo Development Master Plan that foresees, within its objectives, to efficiently and sustainably address the increase in the national electricity supply,” details the Presidency in a press release.

It affirms that this project will boost the economy of the area with local purchases and thousands of jobs, direct and indirect, in its construction and operation phase.

“All this demonstrates the multiplier effect of a minimal public investment that is generating more than US$2.3 billion of private investment, and that will transform the Bay of Manzanillo and the province of Montecristi, and will boost the economic activity of other northwestern districts such as Dajabón, Valverde and Santiago Rodríguez,” said President Abinader during the ceremony to mark the start of the works in December 2022.

Regarding the generation plants, the promoters foresee that around 4,000 direct jobs will be generated during the construction phase and that 200 jobs will be permanent when the project starts operating. Among the benefits of the project, it is also proposed that there will be a direct positive effect on the finances of the electricity distributors because the energy will be cheaper.

This bidding process was larger and more complex than that of Punta Catalina, however, it was carried out in complete transparency. This was without complaints or challenges, so that private companies that participated and did not win made a public recognition to the Bidding Committee for the conduct of the process,” said Abinader during his third accountability speech.

Tourism development

Tourism is emerging as one of the fastest growing sectors in the area. In addition to the natural and traditional attractions, the Super 8 Manzanillo by Wyndham hotel was inaugurated in December last year, with an investment of RD$407.7 million, located in the municipality of Pepillo Salcedo, in Montecristi. It generates jobs for 24 people directly and has 54 rooms, four levels, a large parking lot, swimming pool, restaurant and gym, among other areas. This project is part of a total of 18 hotels that this chain will build in different provinces of the country.

This public initiative has already boosted local private investment with investments such as the Super 8 by Wyndham Manzanillo Hotel, a shipyard and a modern container terminal, as well as the construction of another private natural gas generation plant with its gas pipeline and transmission line for an investment of US$585 million.

Where and with whom has there been consultation?

The meetings with the communities and social and business leaders have been led mainly by the ministers of the Presidency (Minpre), Joel Santos; of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD), Pável Isa Contreras; of Environment and Natural Resources, Miguel Ceara Hatton; and the director of the Dominican Port Authority (Apordom), Jean Luis Rodríguez. They have been at the forefront of the follow-up actions to the work carried out by the Government with the Manzanillo Development Plan.

Montecristi: meeting with the political, social and business authorities of this province, to then talk with the banana sector of the Cibao Norte region.

Banana growers: In the meeting with the representatives of this sector, the coordination of operations for banana exports and the rehabilitation and expansion works of the port and the impact it will have on this commercial sector were discussed.

Los Coquitos Beach: In this area there was a tour of the central government officials and local authorities, as it is one of the main places for recreation for Manzanilleros and nearby towns.

Territorial Dialogue: In addition to visiting the Los Barrancones neighborhood, considered a historic area of Pepillo Salcedo, there was a presentation with the participation of the Provincial and Municipal Development Councils of Monte Cristi and Pepillo Salcedo, in which the Development Strategy for the Bay of Manzanillo and the Northwest Cibao Region was presented.

Characteristics of the port

The technical presentation of the project for the construction of the new port was given by Lucía Cedeño, coordinator of the Executing Unit of the Ministry of Public Works and Communications (MOPC), responsible for the planning, execution of works and maintenance of the road and port infrastructure of the project.

The expert detailed that the work includes circular steel sheet pile cell walls, reinforced concrete perimeter beam, bitts and cone defenses, steel shield with cladding, access walkway from the coast for vehicular circulation linked to the dock with shock absorbers, and solar-powered lighting system, navigation lights and communications.

Regarding the infrastructure, the official detailed that the new port will allow the simultaneous berthing of Panamax and Postpanamax vessels, with a length of 220 meters long by 40 meters wide and with a depth of 15 meters, connected to land by a new bridge of approximately 200 meters in length.

Katharina Falkner-Olmedo, IDB representative in the country, emphasized that the Rehabilitation and Expansion of the Port of Manzanillo project seeks to support the improvement of the competitiveness and socioeconomic growth of the northwest region of the Dominican Republic, consistent with its Vision 2025, in terms of economic integration, climate change and gender.


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