The island of Curaçao is located strategically in the Southern Caribbean approximately 35 miles off the northwestern coast of Venezuela. The island’s strategic location outside the hurricane belt combined with its naturally sheltered, deep-water ports, modern facilities, wide array of shipping services and telecommunications facilities, make it an attractive call that is well equipped to cater to every need of the modern shipping industry.
Curaçao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; it was part of the Netherlands Antilles until the dissolution thereof on October 10, 2010. The current government of Curaçao takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic country, whereby the prime minister is the head of government.
As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with a stable industrious government, Curaçao is a reliable partner for all port-related business activities. With its direct link to major markets, modern telecommunications infrastructure and a competitive international financial sector, the ports of Curaçao are well-equipped for all business activities.
Curaçao is among the region’s most developed and best-organized ports. The port authority is a strong asset to the island spearheading economic development of the ports and attracting reliable partners to the island by offering competitive and efficient service that meets international standards.
Throughout the centuries the main port, the Port of Willemstad, which comprises the St. Anna Bay and the Schottegat Bay, has evolved from a few simple quays to a multi-faceted maritime service center, housing several transnational companies including:
- One of the largest crude oil refinery and oil transshipment centers in the region, operated by Petróleos de Venezuela S.A.
- The Curaçao Container Terminal offering an extensive array of cargo facilities, operated by Curaçao Port Services (CPS) Inc.
- A dynamic Free Trade Zone managed by Curinde N.V.
- The region’s largest dry dock, operated by Curaçao Dry Dock Company Inc.
- Competitive bunkering services by Curoil
- Modern cruise terminals and a modern mega cruise facility, managed by Curaçao Ports Authority (CPA) N.V.
Broad Economic Base
Tourism is, without a doubt, a major contributor to Curaçao’s economy. The Dutch Caribbean island has many unique and enchanting attractions which serve as a valuable asset in the island’s strategic placement in the international tourism market. In addition to tourism, the economy of Curaçao relies on diverse economic activities, which include trade and industry, as well as a well-established international financial service sector. The broad economic base of Curaçao helps the island to assume its stability and sustainability.
Solid and Consistent
Besides its political stability, Curaçao is also known for its social-economic and financial consistency. It enjoys a relatively high standard of living as compared to other areas in the region. Curaçao’s diversity and trading capacity have always been its strength. The unit of currency is the Netherlands Antillean Guilder (ANG) which is tied to the US Dollar at an exchange rate of US$ 1.00 = ANG 1.78.
Dutch and Papiamentu are the official languages on the island, while English and Spanish are widely spoken. The population of approximately 160,000 is comprised of over 80 different nationalities.
Modern Business Infrastructure
Due to the climate on the island there are few natural resources that would enable the production of raw materials on a large scale. As a result, the economy has evolved into a service-oriented economy. The Port of Willemstad is at the center of these developments, offering all facilities needed by the maritime industry within the close proximity of the harbor area. The financial services sector is represented strongly and includes internationally renowned banks, financial consultants and insurance companies. The island’s telecommunications infrastructure is modern and competitive, keeping abreast with the latest technological advancements.
Many major international airlines, such as KLM and American Airlines offer scheduled services to Europe, South and Central America, the Caribbean and the USA. The Curaçao Airport Economic Zone adjacent to the Curaçao International Airport, offers attractive possibilities for airfreight transshipment and air-sea connections are also on the rise. A wide variety of shipping agents provide services to a considerable number of shipping lines who make use of the ports of Curaçao.
Curaçao is situated 35 miles off the coast of Venezuela,
12o North latitude and 69o West longitude.
Distance from major ports in nautical route miles:
- 1,771 miles from New York City, New York
- 1,147 miles from Miami, Florida
- 150 miles from La Guaira, Venezuela
- 450 miles from Cartagena, Colombia
- 742 miles from the Panama Canal
- 486 miles from San Juan, Puerto Rico
Curaçao is 61 km (38 miles) long, and ranges from 5 to 14 km wide and has a total area of 444 km2.
Curaçao is partly hilly, the coastline is mainly low with a sandy coral bottom. Close to the coastline there is deep water on all sides without submerged rocks, reefs or shallows.
Curaçao time (EST) is four hours behind Greenwich Time (GMT).
- The average annual temperature is 82˚ F/ 28˚ C
- The average seawater temperature is 80.3˚ F/ 27˚ C
- Specific Gravity of the seawater is 1.025 (28˚C)
The prevailing trade wind directions vary slightly ENE to ESE, with an average velocity of 11 to 16 knots.
Curaçao lies outside the main hurricane belt.
The average rainfall is 553.6 mm per year.
The tidal range in the ports of Curaçao never exceeds two feet. As a rule, tide and tidal current may be disregarded.
The current usually sets about WNW near the shores of Curaçao, with a maximum velocity of three miles per hour for short periods. The regular velocity is not more than half a mile per hour. Sometimes an easterly current occurs, but is of lesser strength. Near the St. Anna Bay entrance of Willemstad, in open sea, a current indicator is posted. Colored lights continuously indicate the direction and strength of the current at the harbor entrance.
- Carnival Monday (the Monday after the carnival parade-February/March)
- 27 April: King’s day
- 1 May: Labor Day
- 2 July: Flag Day
- 10 October: Curaçao Day
Curaçao’s medical facilities include the St. Elisabeth Hospital with 600 beds, a skilled medical staff and specialized units such as intensive care, dialysis, premature baby center, as well as decompression facilities.
Ambulance service is manned on a 24 hour basis. There are about seventy active general practitioners on the island and many specialists on the hospital staff.