The Puerto Rican government has said it is looking for a major international port operator to partner with on the development of the Port of the Americas.

The Port of the Americas is located in Ponce, Puerto Rico's second-biggest city on the South Coast of the island, and sits on over 300 acres, with a capacity of 500,000 teu. The site, the government said, represents a "tremendous opportunity" for future port capacity expansion and industrial growth.

"We are excited to work with a private-sector partner on the Port of the Americas, to help bring jobs and economic opportunity to the southern coast of Puerto Rico," said Alberto Bacó-Bagué, Secretary of Puerto Rico's Department of Economic Development and Commerce. "The development of this port is just another step in our larger economic plan focused on long-term strategic growth. Infrastructure investments create valuable jobs in the immediate term and are pivotal to our sustained success in the years to come."

In recent years, the Government has invested over US$285m in upgrades to the port, including dredging the entrance channel and berths up to 50 feet. It has also two super post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes and 1,333m of quay.

With a vigorous plan to improve, increase and diversify the island's power production capabilities, as well as the expansion of island-wide broadband internet service, the government is proactively positioning the island as a global business hub in the region.

"We envision the Port of the Americas becoming a major global shipping hub in the years to come," said Carlos Mejia, Port of Ponce authority director. "There are very few places in the region with a channel that is 50 feet deep. With carriers actively utilising larger vessels, a trend that we fully expect to continue with the reopening of the Panama Canal, the region will need a centralised shipping hub. Ponce certainly has the infrastructure, location and capacity to meet the demand in an increasingly global economy."