Plans for grain terminal at Puerto de Caldera clears major hurdle

The Contraloría de la República, the financial watchdog, has given a go ahead to a $30 million grain terminal at the Puerto de Caldera.

This project has been in the planning stages for years. The project is a joint one between the Sociedad Portuaria Granelera de Caldera and the Instituto Costarricense de Puertos del Pacífico.

The Contraloría said that there still are many decisions to be made, such as the exact location, the need for dredging, the design, the percentage of participation and a trust to pay for the work.

Still, the executive branch praised the decision, which came after court appeals and other complexities.

Francisco J. Jiménez, minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes, said that the terminal would increase the competitivity of the port. The government hopes that the terminal will expedite the
exportation of grains, perhaps to China and other points in Asia.

Work is expected to begin in six months if the details can be resolved, officials said.

Construction will require about 250 workers, giving a boost to the Puntarenas area. Although the terminal is mainly for grain ships, the facility could be used for other types of vessels in an emergency, officials said. The aim of the project is to eliminate the congestion at the Puerto de Caldera where ships sometimes await unloading and loading for days.

The new terminal will be able to handle five ships at once and ships with a capacity of up to 42,000 metric tons, said a summary from the ministry.

All major governmental projects have to be passed upon by the Contraloría.

The terminal does not win praise from everyone. Some rice farmers fear that the facility will be used to import cheaper foreign products that will compete with the local harvests.

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