The textiles and apparel sector in Honduras has raised $1.5bn as part of its 2020 development plan

The textiles and apparel sector in Honduras has raised $1.5bn as part of its 2020 development plan

The textiles and apparel sector in Honduras has raised $1.5bn as part of its 2020 development plan to become a global synthetics yarn and activewear major.

Under the scheme, the Central American country hopes to triple exports to $7.4bn in five years, generating 200,000 jobs to become the US's fifth-largest supplier from seventh currently.

To achieve this, the nation needs to secure investments of $3bn – of which around half has already been raised – with the funds being used to modernise sewing machines and equipment, build new industrial and manufacturing parks, worker training programmes, renewable energy facilities (to slash electricity costs) and new logistics infrastructure. 

"The project is doing very well and investor foot traffic is up," says the plan's manager Joe Cuervo, adding that the unnamed backers come from Europe, Asia and the US. 

As originally planned, the money is coming 50% from private investors and 50% from the government. "Ports and roads are being expanded as well as biomass energy," facilities among other developmental initiatives, Cuervo notes. 

Honduras hopes to invest $3.4bn to double apparel exports

His comments come as a group of Honduran investors recently teamed up to launch synthetics supplier Unitexa (the United Textiles of America). 

The firm is currently importing equipment to build a 25,000 ton-per-year texturised yarn supplier set to be ready in summer 2018. 

Honduras welcomes $73m synthetic yarn plant

E-commerce distribution centre 

The $78m manufacturing project comes as other investors are eyeing ventures, notably an American fashion firm that's looking to build a distribution centre to service its US e-commerce business, Cuervo says, adding that the unnamed firm also intends to install acluster embellishment operation.  

Two undisclosed investors from Europe and China are also carrying out feasibility studies to build additional synthetics manufacturing capacity, he adds. 

The textiles expansion is a key part of the broader, 'Honduras 2020' multi-sector development plan.

"Right now, the country is primarily a cotton manufacturer, but high-performance sportswear is going to be a new, game-changing category," with the shift also enlarging the country's sublimation and printing capacity.

Already, top manufacturers like Elcatex are ramping up synthetics output at the textiles manufacturing pole, mainly located in Choloma (San Pedro Sula area) and an hour away from the Cortes Caribbean port.

Elcatex biomass plant to help Honduras textiles plan

Yarn spinning competitiveness

"A lot of the existing cotton operations can also make basic synthetics like performance T-shirts with moisture management, but when the Unitex spinning facility is ready our leadtimes and costs will be more competitive" because spun yarn will no longer need to be imported, Cuervo explains. 

The executive, who worked as a raw-materials boss for the likes of JC Penney and Fossil before taking over the textiles helm at Honduras 2020, says the plan will transform the Honduran economy, helping it meet the US's Alliance for Prosperity Plan to develop Central America's economy to stem immigration.