Uruguay plants its growth

The South American country bet on diversifying its economy and found that the forestry sector and logistics were the best alternatives for growth. 
|   By Diego Stewart   |
The severe economic and financial crisis Uruguay faced just 13 years ago is only a distant memory now. In 2002, unemployment peaked at nearly 20 percent, 39 percent of the people lived in poverty, and exports were below $2 billion per year.
Today, Uruguay’s unemployment rate is just 6.6 percent, its poverty index stands at 12.4 percent – the lowest in Latin America – and exports are five times as high as they were at the start of 2000 decade.
Uruguay has had 12 consecutive years of economic growth, averaging 5.4 percent per year. This expansion was accompanied by a jump in per capita GDP from $4,089 in 2002 to $16,300 in 2013, according to World Bank data.
This economic growth is clearly reflected in the increase in port activity, which has required investment in the maritime terminals to deal with the expansion.
In 2014, the Port of Montevideo moved 472,647 containers, more than double the number for 2002. “We are a mirror image of the nation’s economy,” Alberto Díaz, president of the Uruguay Port Authority, told Latin Trade.
Over the past seven years, investment in infrastructure in the main maritime terminal came to about $280 million. During that time, a new container terminal; a multi-operation, multi-purpose quay; and a bulk terminal have been set up through a combination of private concessions …

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