Developing the Network


MARITIME Encouraged by the country’s strategic location in the Caribbean Sea, maritime development in the Dominican Republic is arguably the most important aspect of the transportation sector. As a link […]


Encouraged by the country’s strategic location in the Caribbean Sea, maritime development in the Dominican Republic is arguably the most important aspect of the transportation sector. As a link between North and South America, the Caribbean nation is an important player in regional transshipping. In 2011, the Dominican Republic handled 1.38 million TEUs, which is 3.34% of the region’s total. This figure marks a sharp increase in comparison to the previous decade, as the country handled just 566,479 TEUs in 2000.

In 2001, Haina International Terminals was awarded a 30-year maintain-operate tender for Haina Port, located 20 kilometers west of Santo Domingo. Currently, the port handles 70% of all maritime cargo moved through the Dominican Republic, excluding that which is handled at the Port of Caucedo and imports and exports processed at free trade zones (FTZs).

Haina International Terminals has invested $60 million in the reconstruction and development of the port. The terminal boasts 2,800 meters of berth and 250,000 sqm for general cargo, and has 15 berths for simultaneous docking, three gantry cranes with the capacity for 25 movements per hour, and a container yard with the capacity to handle 12,000 TEUs. In 2011, 1,686 vessels used Haina Port, which handled 353,684 TEUs, a 22.4% increase on the previous year.

DP World runs the Port of Caucedo, a maritime terminal and logistics center operating under the free zone regime. Located in Santo Domingo, the nation’s youngest port dispatches 85% of FTZ exports to the US. In 2011, the port handled 960,000 TEUs, a 4.5% decrease on the previous year. Unlike other regional ports, Caucedo is supported by being a deep-water facility, which has effectively negated the need for dredging. The port has 1 kilometer of berth, and can be extended by 500 meters. Currently, DP World is preparing for the expansion of the Panama Canal. To this end, the port has purchased six new super-post Panamax container cranes.

Puerto Plata port is the country’s main commercial port in the northeastern region. It is the third most active cargo port in the country, and there are plans to rebuild the older sections of the terminal to accommodate passenger cruise ships. In 2011, cargo handling increased by nearly five times the 2010 amount. Puerto Plata handled 211,452 TEUs in 2011, compared to the 44,147 TEUs handled in 2010.

Located at the maritime entrance to Santo Domingo city, the capital’s port is suited for turnaround and transit vessels. In 2011, it handled 34,382 TEUs, compared to the 21,654 TEUs received in 2010. Both terminals at the port have undergone significant upgrades in recent years, one of which took place at Don Diego Terminal. The 435-sqm North Wing is used as a transit reception area, while the South Wing doubles as a transit reception area and homeport terminal with an 820-sqm hall. The Don Diego Terminal pier is 400 meters long, and at low tide has a depth of water of 9.7 meters. The second terminal in Santo Domingo is San Souci, a multi-purpose private port with 3,200 sqm of ground level area and 1,200 sqm on an upper floor. The port is designed to handle nearly 3,800 passengers plus crew daily and can also accommodate Eagle-class cruise ships.


There are currently 19,705 kilometers of highways and roads in the Dominican Republic, with 9,872 kilometers paved and 9,833 kilometers unpaved. As in many emerging nations, roads in the Dominican Republic suffer from a lack of maintenance. However, the government has stepped up its efforts to increase land traffic through a bid to improve road standards. To this end, the authorities issued concessions to a Dominican-Colombian consortium led by Grupo Odinsa, designed to develop major road arteries. Autopistas del Nordeste, linking Santo Domingo to the northeast, and Boulevard Turí­stico del Atlántico, linking Autopistas del Nordeste to the Semana Peninsula, are the country’s two major highway concessions.

Autopistas del Nordeste reduces the existing journey from 200 kilometers to 120 kilometers, meaning that travel time is reduced from 4 hours to 1.5 hours. The total project length is 106.59 kilometers, with a width of 12.3 meters. As outlined in the project, the highway has two lanes, one in each direction, and has been operational for the past seven years. The Dominican government provided funding for 20% of the costs, the Dominican-Colombian consortium invested 20%, and the remaining 60% was financed via a long-term loan.

Boulevard Turí­stico del Atlántico, the second highway concession, has been in operation since November 2011. Developed under a 28-year build-operate-maintain concession, the tender included the rehabilitation of 99 kilometers of existing road and the construction of a further 24 kilometers. In an interview with TBY, Gonzalo Castillo T., Minister of Public Works and Communication, explained that highway upgrades were part of the federal government’s strategy to attract more tourists.


There are seven major international airports across the Dominican Republic, serving destinations in North and South America, the Caribbean, and Europe. A network of 31 domestic and other airports supports this international infrastructure.

Punta Cana International Airport, located in the east of the Dominican Republic, is the nation’s busiest airport. It is the Caribbean’s third busiest after Cancún International Airport in Mexico, and Luis Muñoz Marí­n International Airport in Puerto Rico. Punta Cana International is privately operated by Grupo Punta Cana and serves 3.9 million passengers each year. Currently, 53 airlines fly in and out of Punta Cana, which has three terminals for international, domestic, and private flights. It is the fastest-growing airport in Latin America, with up to a 20% yearly increase in passenger traffic.

Las Américas International Airport is the second busiest airport in the Dominican Republic and one of two international airports serving Santo Domingo. Following a $25 million upgrade, the airport can now simultaneously support four A380s on 3,555 meters of runway. On average, 3.4 million passengers are handled at the airport each year. In total, 24 airlines fly into Las Américas International Airport from as far afield as Asia and Europe.

Cibao International Airport is located in the Dominican Republic’s second largest city, Santiago. As the nation’s third busiest airport, there are up to 25 daily flights to the US, Caribbean, and Latin America in operation. JetBlue Airways operates seven daily flights to New York, as well as a daily flight to Boston with an average 87% occupancy rate. In May 2013, the airline will start flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Delta Airlines also operates two daily flights to New York. In addition, American Airlines boasts an average 95% occupancy rate on daily flights to New York, Miami, and San Juan.

Logistic services fly daily to Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo and Cibao International Airport in Santiago. Olman Castillo, Country Manager at DHL, told TBY that the integrated systems at Las Américas are progressing and moving in the right direction for operators, noting that the company has three daily flights from Puerto Rico, Panama, and Miami. Through its operations in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, DHL connects cargo operators to Asia and Europe.

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