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New terminal in Costa Rica

Moin – a new terminal in the making

While Costa Rica has had exceptionally consistent economic growth over the past two decades, little of this growth has been in evidence in the Caribbean province of Limon, where most of the Jamaican descendants have resided since the late 1800s. 

This is about to change with the development of a modern container terminal in Moin.

Captain Paul J. Gallia, managing director of APM Terminals Moin, explained: “The Costa Rican government has in place, as part of its strategy for continued growth in international commerce, a master plan to modernise the ports and logistics in the country. A major component of this plan is the new Moin Container Terminal.”

In March 2011 the Netherlands-based company APM Terminals won a 33-year concession to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the Moin Container Terminal (TCM).

Following an investment of US$ 992.2 million, the new facility is due to enter service in 2016. It will therefore benefit from the Panama Canal expansion, having been designed to serve the larger post panamax ships.

In its first phase of operation, TCM will have 600 metres of berthing; 40 hectares of container storage on reclaimed land, protected by a 1.2 km breakwater; a 16 metre deep access channel; and 14.5 metres depth alongside. Six super post panamax STS cranes will provide world-class productivity. Safety and security will exceed mandatory international standards. 

APM Terminals’ general manager in Moin, Rogelio Douglas, a native Costa Rican, said: “The existing ports of Limon and Moin can currently only handle ships up to 2,500 teu. Despite this restriction in vessel size and a lack of cargo-handling equipment in 2011, they handled just under 900,000 teu. The projected economic growth of the country and the increasing containerisation of refrigerated exports suggest this figure will increase to over 2 million teu within 20 years. This forecasted growth underscores the need for a modern, safe and efficient container terminal operation.”

The TCM project is the largest single infrastructure private investment to date in the country and APM Terminals is the first multinational major investor in Limon since the Standard Fruit Company back in the early 1990s.

Mr Douglas said: “Since the announcement of the concession award and the contract signing a few months later, there has been an increasing volume of interest from foreign investors interested in developing operations close to the new container terminal location, where the local transportation costs, warehousing and labour are expected to be much more attractive. This investor confidence has already been crystallised by real estate developers, nature tourism specialists, Free Trade Zone investors and the manufacturing sector looking to install their centrally located Americas logistics and distribution operations close to a modern deepwater terminal.” 

The Caribbean province of Limon provides Costa Rica’s highest level of native bilingualism (English and Spanish); a culturally diverse labour force (African-Caribbean, Latin, indigenous and oriental descendants); and very attractive operation cost-points.

The TCM project has quickly gained a high profile domestically – with a potential to increase the national GDP by one point – as well as internationally – underscoring the government’s interest in major infrastructure projects under concession partnership with private enterprise.