Dock agency seeks hike of 21 percent in its rates

The government agency that runs the nation’s ports at Moín and Limón want to raise the rates 21 percent.

The executive director of the agency, Allan Hidalgo Campos, said the increase really should be 39 percent but such an increase would further diminish the competitiveness of the docks. The agency is the Junta de Administración Portuaria y Desarrollo Económica de la Vertiente Atlántica.

Hidalgo was appearing before the Authoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos because even government agencies need approval to change rates.

The regulating authority will study the request and schedule public hearings before making a decision.

The Limón and Moín docks are considered to be highly inefficient, and the government has a plan to put the docks on concession to a private firm that would provide the necessary investments, perhaps $1 billion.

The rates at the docks affect all the nation’s exports and imports, including what expats pay to bring household goods and vehicles into the country.

Hidalgo said his agency was hit with adverse decisions by the Sala IV constitutional court and had to hire 200 more employees to keep the docks going 24 hours a day or three shifts. These new employees were not considered when the current rates were set, he said.

The government’s plan for a dock concession is opposed vigorously by the dockworkers union although such a system has been put in place at the Caldera docks on the Pacific.

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