The new terminal is supposed to reduce the unloading and loading time for container ships from as much as five days to a single day.
The contract is between the central government and its Junta de Administración Portuaria y de Desarrollo Económico de la Vertiente Atlántica and APM Terminals, a Dutch company. The proposal is a concession. Eventually the country will gain ownership of the investment.
Officials expressed their happiness and optimism at an afternoon press conference and said the new terminal will raise the country’s ranking in port services. It now ranks 132 out of 142 ports, they noted.
Between 75 and 80 percent of the nation’s goods move through the port of Moín, which now is staffed by more than 1,000 government employees. The dock workers union is rambunctious and stages frequent work slowdowns or stoppages.
“The three fundamental reasons to celebrate this big advance are the improvement of the competitivity of the country because it means breaking the bottleneck that limits Costa Rica from reaching its potential, it reduces the paperwork and the third reason is to celebrate the boost to the province of Limón,” said President Laura Chinchilla Miranda.
The new terminal will have six docks, 13 cranes and the capacity to handle boats with up to 12,000 containers.
The action by the Contraloría basically says that the contract is legal and the government has followed all the appropriate steps so far.
The Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. and the China National Petroleum Corp have a joint venture to construct a $96 million facility to handle tankers nearby.
APM runs terminals all over the world. Still ahead for the new terminal is approval of its design and its environmental viability. The government also has to provide a highway to the site and also dredge the harbor. There also may be more legal challenges. Some banana growers already tried to derail the project because of the anticipated cost to ship their product. The new terminal will charge about $46 more per container than the current public docks, according to a government estimate.
The current cost per container is $190.96 while the anticipated cost at the new facility would be $237, according to the Authoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos.