Guatemala is the fourth largest sugar exporter in the world, according to data from the International Sugar Organization and surpasses blocs such as the European Union and countries such as Mexico, Cuba, and Colombia.
The sugar produced in Guatemala is exported to all continents and according to data from the Bank of Guatemala -Banguat- in 2019, 55% of sugar exports were destined for countries on the American continent, followed by Africa with 23%, Asia with 13%, Oceania with 5% and Europe with 4%.
Additionally, sugar represents 6.2% of the country’s exports, with foreign exchange earnings of US $ 695 million. In addition to the sales of byproducts from sugar production, such as molasses (US $ 56.3 million) and alcohol (US $ 124.7 million), the Guatemalan Sugar Industry generated US $ 876 million in foreign exchange for Guatemala in 2019 alone.
It is important to highlight that Guatemala exports 70% of its total sugar production, the remaining 30% is fortified with vitamin A and remains in the country to supply local consumption.
Main destination countries for Guatemalan sugar
The main destinations for Guatemalan sugar exports in metric tons –MT- were Canada with 333,596 MT, the United States with 261,628 MT, Chile with 211,075 MT and Mauritania with 165,425 MT.
To the previous destinations are added Taiwan with 111,609 MT, China with 108,999 MT, New Zealand with 92,500 MT, Haiti with 75,081 MT, Democratic Republic of the Congo with 60,437 MT and Senegal with 50,662 MT, according to data from Banguat.
The door to the world
All the sugar that Guatemala exports leaves from a terminal specialized in sugar handling, called Expogranel, which is located in Puerto Quetzal, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
This terminal was built in 1994 and is considered one of the most efficient sugar shipping terminals in the world. It has the capacity to store 350,000 metric tons of sugar in bulk and 58,000 metric tons of sugar in bags, this added to its loading speed, compared to other countries, gives Guatemala a competitive advantage.
What makes it more impressive is its current shipping rate of 2,000 metric tons of bulk sugar per hour. When Expogranel started it took 30 days to load a 35 thousand MT ship and today it does so in just 18 hours. In addition, it has a shipping capacity of more than 3,500 tons of bagged sugar every day.