Should the outcome prove positive, Andrade Gutierrez will be awarded a concession for 25-30 years to develop the port. However, this would only be possible with amendments to existing legislation, which currently forbids private sector investment in this area. Nevertheless, the president of the state-controlled Private Enterprise Council (Cosep), José Adán Aguerri, notes that the proposal to reform the port’s law “is ready” and hopes the parliament will approve the revisions.
The go ahead for the initial studies which was personally announced by President Ortega, has a projected cost of US$250 to US$300m with 1,500 jobs being created during the construction period.
Mario Macedo, the commercial director in Nicaragua for Andrade Gutierrez, stresses that the project will be funded in its entirety by the private sector and that the government will act solely as a facilitator. In respect of a return on investment, he notes, “I believe that the most viable ports are those which have container terminals, because these are more profitable in terms of import-export revenue.”