TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras-Honduras attracts $1.5 billion in strategic investments to bolster the country’s synthetic yarn and activewear industries.
Designations for the funds include modernized sewing machines, upgraded industrial parks, and improvements to infrastructure such as shipping ports, roads, railway operations, and renewable energy facilities.
Ramfiz Rodriguez, international promotion and communication manager of Honduras2020, a public-private partnership involved in the country’s optimization, says the improvements aim to raise the country’s status in the global textile export market. Honduras2020 hopes to increase annual exports to $7.4 billion and add 200,000 jobs by 2020. Currently, the country projects an increase in textile and apparel exports from $4.1 billion to $4.5 billion this year.
Image courtesy Honduras2020
The initiative is significant specifically to the U.S. as roughly 83 percent of textile exports from Honduras ship to U.S. markets. The report also cites that the Central American country is the number one supplier of cotton T-shirts and number two supplier of fleecewear in the U.S.
U.S.-based companies such as Fruit of the Loom and Gildan also operate multiple facilities in the region. With the investments, Rodriguez says Honduras hopes to surpass Indonesia and Mexico to become the fifth-most important apparel provider for the U.S.
The $1.5 billion investment is the most recent round of funding the country has received. In January 2017, a group of Honduran investors pooled $73 million to launch United Textiles of America (Unitexa), a plant that produces synthetic texturized yarn. Unitexa expects to commence production in summer of 2018. Honduras2020 projects an output of more than 25,000 tons-per-year of textured yarn for moisture-wicking apparel, stain-resistant clothing, and performance wear.
In addition to current investments, Rodriguez points out that Honduran textile producer Elcatex continues to ramp up production, while multiple investors in the U.S., Europe, and China express interest in investing in facilities to service e-commerce companies.
Other auxiliary improvements to raise the country’s position in the market include affordable housing and daycare for textile workers and their families, advanced wastewater treatment, and an overhaul of the country’s major port, Puerto Cortes. The port holds the distinction as the only deep-water port in Central America and the first in Latin America with Megaport certification from the United States. Honduras2020 expects the port will double its capacity to more than 1.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units.
The news marks the latest steps by Honduras2020 to grow the country’s textile industry. In May 2016, Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez spoke at a fashion summit in Denmark and outlined the organization’s goals.