The country’s environmental agency plans a hearing in Limón Nov. 9 to announce its finding on the anticipated impact of a proposed $1 billion shipping container handling facility.
The agency is the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental, part of the environmental ministry. The report is vital to the future of the project and for its concession holder APM Terminals.
APM has contracted to build the facility and to run it for 30 years. The session Nov. 9 will be in the Eddy Bermudez gymnasium in Limón.
As part of the concession contract APM terminals, the 30 year operator of the new facility must provide bus services to and from the meeting for communities of lower-income residents and those who have limited transportation options. APM will also be responsible for the security and other logistics for the event. This hearing is required as part of Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental’s permission process.
The terminal is controversial because it is opposed by those who now work in managing the Limón docks. Environmentalists also have filed complaints and said that the project will damage mangroves,
A few days ago the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes approved the plans and design of the new facility and gave the project a green light. Next week after the hearing APM had planned a press workshop in San Jose but it will now be given by the Secretaría Técnica.
Some 80 percent of Costa Rica’s imports and exports currently flow through the two existing ports in Limón. The container project is the keystone of the government’s plan to increase development in the Caribbean province.
Nov. 26 and 27 Costa Rica welcomes once again China and their deep pocketbooks. The Seventh China Business Summit will be held at the Hotel Real Continental in San José. “The Chinese representatives have allocated two days to spend in the province of Limón” says Rogelio Douglas, general manager for APM Terminals in Moín.
Douglas, a Limón native, left Costa Rica when he was 15 for a U.S. education. He at times seems more like a cheerleader for Limón than the communications go-to guy for a multinational corporation. “The basic conversations we are having with manufacturers and possible new investors is for them to do their final assembly of products here on the eastern coast of Costa Rica and redistribute from here to North America, South America and even Europe.” “We cannot fail. Failure is not an option. We must attract investors,” he said.
In early 2017 the terminal should be starting operations but the hiring process will start in 2015.
“We will need to hire the first 100 employees in 2015 to send them to one of our other international terminals to gain field experience,” Douglas said. “These fully paid people will be our managers and team leaders. Upon returning in 2016 we will hire an additional 300 people, and they will form teams. We will be hiring these people from here in Limón”.
APM is the first multi-national corporation to open in Limón in 100 years. In two to three years APM will close the San José office and the headquarters will be located on the terminal.
APM will eventually have 1,000 persons on payroll. This is the plan:
The existing ocean depth is 11 meters (36 feet), and it will need to be 18 meters (59 feet) for the modern container ships. APM will dredge 10 million cubic meters of silt and place it three miles away farther into the ocean.
The entire terminal will be built using rocks and material 500 meters off of the coastline. The only soil that the structure will touch will be at the end of the four-lane access road. The facility will be five meters (about 16.5 feet) above the surface of the water.
The plan does not involve removing or refurbishing the existing container terminal. It will be the same as it is today.
The new facility will be a modern one with cranes for loading and unloading. The existing terminal does not have cranes to move containers on and off the ships. The first-generation banana ships do have their own cranes but second, third- and fourth-generation ships do not. This limits the amount and types of transport that can filter through the port. The Limón terminal to the east has two cranes, but one has been non-functioning for two years.