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Port Modernization


The Cap Haïtien Port is one of Haiti’s three international seaports, second to Port-au-Prince, and one of nine primary port facilities in Haiti. Located in the Bay of Cap Haïtien, the port sits on Haiti’s northern coast. It provides direct access to the markets in the northern departments of the country that are geographically separated from the capital city and its port facilities by mountain ranges. The Cap Haïtien Port serves approximately 10 percent of the country’s nearly 10 million people. Its geographically central position in the Caribbean Basin enables direct shipping services to the United States and the opportunity for single connections to major global hubs throughout the region.

Key Challenges

While a key factor for economic growth in Haiti is the extent to which entrepreneurs and investors are able to capitalize on the country’s proximity to the United States, Haiti currently does not fully benefit from its location. The country ranks only 76 out of 190 in “trading across borders” and 181 in “ease of doing business” in the World Bank’s global Doing Business Report 2017. Further, increased capacity in the port sector along with private investment, including in a second major transport hub outside of Port-au-Prince, are required in order to capitalize on this strategic advantage and increase the flow of goods in and out of Haiti.

USAID Strategy & Activities

USAID is complementing existing U.S. Government trade preferences– as well as other USAID and U.S. Government investments in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors – through support to the Government of Haiti (GOH) to modernize both infrastructure and operations at the Cap Haïtien Port. USAID is also supporting the Haitian government’s implementation of ongoing national port-sector institutional and regulatory reforms at the Cap Haïtien Port. Collectively, these efforts are part of USAID’s Cap Haïtien Port Rehabilitation and Public-Private Partnership Project. USAID support to the GOH will enable the Cap Haïtien Port to provide modern container and bulk cargo services to accommodate larger ships in an efficient, well-regulated, and transparent manner that serves Haiti’s vision of a modern economy and valued trade partner.

IMPROVE PORT INFRASTRUCTURE:  Port rehabilitation is occurring in two phases:

Phase 1: Landside infrastructure improvements include utility upgrades; construction of a new administrative building and warehouses; demolition of unused or derelict vertical structures; paving of roads and storage areas; installation of refrigerated storage; and installation of navigational aids, communications, and security equipment. Phase 1 has already started with the focus on communication and security upgrades and detailed designs for the various buildings and roadways.

Phase 2: Specialized marine construction includes engineering design and construction leading to the repair and replacement of the port’s quays as well as dredging of the berth areas and turning basin. An implementer for Phase 2 will be selected through a transparent, open, and competitive bidding process.


USAID is providing support to Haiti’s National Port Authority and National Customs Agency to improve the Cap Haïtien Port's administrative, management, and regulatory functions and to streamline customs processing. Technical support to National Port Authority at the port has been developed to align with the Haitian government’s ongoing national-level port regulatory reform program.   


USAID is supporting the GOH to implement a public-private partnership transaction through a transparent, open, and competitive bidding process leading to the award of a 20-25 year contract between the GOH and a private entity for operations and maintenance at the Cap Haïtien Port. Through a grant agreement between USAID and the International Finance Corporation, the International Finance Corporation serves as lead transaction advisor to the National Port Authority and the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The GOH’s competitive process to select an operations and maintenance entity is in the final stages with an award expected in 2017. USAID’s goal is to support the GOH in leveraging the Agency’s financial contribution for port infrastructure improvements by reorganizing port facilities and operations to accommodate growth-oriented cargo segments, reducing costs associated with the use of the port, and applying international best practices to improve port service quality as well as increase output volumes.