The recent opening of the Port Caribe Shipyard & Marina in San Juan is starting to enhance Puerto Rico’s role in the Caribbean superyacht market. By David Robinson

B+V Port Caribe

The Philippe Starck-designed B+V superyacht ‘A’ at Port Caribe

The recent opening of the Port Caribe Shipyard & Marina in San Juan is starting to notably enhance Puerto Rico’s role in the Caribbean superyacht market. The duo of refurbished facilities brings together a marina area in Old San Juan Harbor and the former Isla Grande US Navy shipyard.

“Since we opened in September we have gradually been building up the business,” Paul Madden, Port Caribe’s principal business developer, told SB. “We actually opened earlier than expected and so far we have had four yachts in the marina and one yacht at the shipyard which was a refit on a 100m (328ft)-plus superyacht.”

When fully operational, the marina area of Port Caribe, located between Piers 6 and 9, will offer over 1,600m (5,000ft)-plus of deep water quays for both alongside and Med stern-to berthing. The stern-to berthing will go up to 110m (361ft) with alongside going as large as required.

The nearby Isla Grande shipyard includes a 200m (660ft) dry dock, 457m (1,500ft) of quay and a 40-acre hard-stand area for working on yachts ashore.

The two facilities were put out to tender in June by the Puerto Rican government and the 50-year concession was won by the Michigan-headquartered Edgewater Resources group, which is a waterfront design, planning and engineering practice.

The concession is held in the name of Edgewater Port Caribe LCC but the project also has a number of local Puerto Rican investors supporting the project. They will fund the planned upland development, which includes a crew facility including a gym, a boutique hotel and retail outlets.

The private investment in Port Caribe amounts to $73m and it is expected to generate an annual $40m economic benefit.

So far only about one-third of the berthing space is available in the marina but more will come on stream in the coming months. In terms of job created, Madden told SB: “On an average day we have 40 to 50 workers in the shipyard and some days up to 90. There are fewer people in the marina.”

He indicated that more jobs will be created as more work comes to the shipyard and more yachts use the marina. A number of future bookings are held for both.

“Our intention,” he added, “is to make Port Caribe the main homeporting base in the Caribbean. We are not against the transient trade of course, but those using Port Caribe to homeport will get the best rates.”