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A modern port for Costa Rica

Monday, March 26, 2012

Netherlands-based APM Terminals last week got the green light from Costa Rica's Controller of the Budget, to proceed with a new container port in Moín, on the Caribbean coast.

The first two phases of the project - a 33-year concession to build and operate the facility - involve an investment of $620 million. A potential third phase involves an additional investment of close to $300 million.

The new terminal will accommodate ships carrying up to 8,000 containers. The port of Limón, currently in use, can only handle vessels of up to 2,500 containers, and is rated among the world's least efficient facilities. APM, a subsidiary of Denmark's giant A. P. Moller-Maersk, operates 63 ports in 37 countries.

The APM project still faces legal hurdles. Costa Rica's banana exporters would face higher charges, for using the new operation, including cranes. These companies currently use ships, with their own cargo-handling equipment. Another lawsuit involves unionized workers at the port of Limón, some of whom would lose their jobs, once the new terminal starts operations. The Controller's decision makes it more likely, however, that the project will proceed.

Construction of the terminal is expected to start in 2013.


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