Only 28 miles west of Havana, Cuba has been developing the Mariel Special Economic Development Zone around a deep-water port. Now this project is reaching fruition.
With a goal of becoming a bustling commercial city built on high-tech, advanced manufacturing and sustainable development, the Zone of 115,000 acres now has large tracts of land leveled and ready for construction of the following two major manufacturing operations:
- The BrasCuba factory — a joint venturebetween Brazil’s Souza Cruz and Cuba’s Tabacuba–will turn out Popular, Cohiba and H. Upmann cigarettes for export and the domestic market.
- Womy Equipment Rental, a Dutch company that rents cranes and other heavy equipment, has just finished its building as shown in this photograph.
In addition, a site has been prepared for a Cuban biotech factory, and two foreign companies–BDC-Log and BDC-Tec– have begun operating in the zone’s logistics sector.
Although only nine companies are currently operating there, another 18, including firms from Spain, the Netherlands, Panama, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Vietnam, France, Belgium, and Cuba itself have been approved and are getting ready to start.
The port has more than 2,300 feet of wharf space, four super Post-Panamax cranes and the capacity to handle 820,000 cargo containers annually.
In light of President Trump’s June 2017 announcement of still forthcoming regulatory restrictions on U.S. business’ doing business in Cuba, U.S. firms have been reluctant to make commitments for Mariel projects.
 Whitefield, Mariel is Cuba’s big industrial gamble. Could U.S. companies be among investors?, Miami Herald (Oct. 23, 2017). An earlier blog post discussed potential U.S. interest in Mariel.