Seven companies received approval to open businesses in the port of Mariel and the nearby industrial area, as reported Wednesday by the Associated Press. Since late 2014, two Belgian companies, two Mexican, one Spanish, and two Cuban companies, which will be dedicated to food, chemicals, logistics and automation, have received the green light.
Ana Teresa Igarza, General Director of the Office of the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), told AP that more than 400 foreign companies have been in contact seeking authorization. Of this total, only about 25 completed the documentation. “The first (investors) are the hardest, when they begin to invest with more ease others see what they are doing, but there is a step closer, she said.
The Spanish company Hotelsa and the Mexican company Richmeat will be the first two companies to settle in
The space to open will be in Sector A, an area of about 17.4 square miles, where an esplanade is being built for the first two factories: the Spanish company Hotelsa, dedicated to the manufacture and marketing of food products and beverages for the hospitality industry, and the Mexican company Richmeat, a producer of meat.
The Mariel Special Development Zone has a 2,300 foot quay at the port and a railway line that will serve both for cargo and to transport workers.
The Zone, which opened in January 2014, currently offers employment to 328 workers, in addition to 4,000 working temporarily in construction. Teresita Trujillo, a specialist in the office of the Special Zone consulted by AP, estimates that about 70,000 jobs will be created.
Several US companies have already expressed interest in opening in Mariel after the diplomatic rapprochement between Washington and Havana; they include Cleber, from Alabama, which assembles tractors.