Tecplata Container Terminal, Argentina

Client – HSBC

Scope of work – Lender’s technical advisor

The transport arteries for road traffic to the ports of Buenos Aires run alongside the historic waterfront and inner basins of Puerto Madero. The limited capacity and frequent interruptions of traffic-light-controlled interchanges, coupled with heavy peak-hour commuter and port-related traffic, contribute significantly to the congestion of the city and slow travel to and from the port terminals.

The potential for a new container terminal at an alternative downstream location had long been considered, taking advantage of the shorter vessel transit time from the open sea, reduced pilot fees and planned ring road connections. Such a location would provide speedy access to the manufacturing centres surrounding the city, avoiding the congestion of the historic waterfront.

In 2007 Julian Johanson-Brown, working for Halcrow, carried out a port siting study to identify a suitable location for an out of city terminal. After spending a month evaluating both upstream and downstream sites, he recommended the development of a brownfield site at La Plata, 37 kilometres downstream of Buenos Aires.


Philippines-based operator ICTSI won the concession to develop a US$ 450 million terminal at the site proposed by Johanson-Brown. HSBC, the lender, appointed Halcrow as its technical advisor, and Johanson-Brown led the project, coordinating a specialist team of traffic planners, civil and electrical engineers and environmental scientists. He was responsible for many of the technical and operational due diligence reports for the commission and held regular progress meetings and briefings with HSBC in New York.

The scope of work included a technical review of the design and operational model for the terminal, truck traffic analysis and port access studies, environmental compliance with state legislation, and monthly inspections during construction to confirm progress and compliance with the design. Monthly reports were presented to HSBC.

He developed a high-performance team who worked from three different offices in three different time zones, providing a seamless interface with the client. His work challenged the design in some areas and added value to the overall project, which was recognised by the client. He acquired valuable experience of an important role that enabled him to apply his technical knowledge, commercial acumen and leadership qualities.