The container handling port under construction in Limón will be a real cash cow. But nothing will go to the central government to offset its financial deficit.
An estimated $961 million instead will go to what is being called development purposes. Government officials are working to create a trust fund for the money. The main beneficiary of the income, which is estimated at about $10 million a year, will be the Junta de Administración Portuaria y Desarrollo de la Vertiente Atlántica.
Participating with creating the trust fund are the Banco Nacional, the Ministerio de Planificación and the Instituto Nacional de Seguros.
The APM Terminals Central América B.V. is building the container port from scratch, and it has three years to do it. Then the 30-year operating concession will kick in. It is the Consejo Nacional de Concesiones that says the project will spin off fees of some $961 million by 2047.
Under terms of the concession agreement, the terminal firm, a subsidiary of the Dutch-based APM Terminals, will pay 5
percent of its gross income to support regional development and 2.5 percent of its gross income to finance development specifically in Limón.
Ultimately, of course, the fees will be paid by the users of the container facility and the end consumers of products that are shipped.
What still is unclear is if the Junta will be able to leverage the income to obtain much bigger loans.
The central government already has set out plans to modernize the Limón region and the Caribbean coast.
The plan calls for infrastructure like sewers, drainage and road ways. The government also is hoping the terminal project will generate direct employment by hiring locals to work there.
The government sees the entire region as impoverished with a 29 percent poverty rate and 10.9 percent unemployment.