Thursday , 19 September 2019
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Following our report last week (21 November) that APM Terminals (APMT) had rejected industry rumours that its Costa Rican concession at the new Moin Container Terminal (TCM) had run into difficulties and is unlikely to go ahead, the company has reaffirmed its commitment to the project.

APMT reaffirms confidence in Costa Rica

In the statement issued exclusively to CM last week, Captain Paul Gallie, APMT’s Moin managing director, said, “We expect to receive the Contraloria General’s (CGR) endorsement of the concession agreement before the end of the year”.

The company has since made it clear that TCM is moving forward to serve growing international trade flows, including increasingly containerised reefer cargoes. Environmental sustainability will be a key factor of design and operations, prompting Gallie to describe the project as an example of essential Latin American port planning and development.

The existing container facilities of Puerto Limón and Moin handled a combined total of only 858,161teu last year and can only accommodate smaller vessels. “The key factor is that there are no alternative or cheaper solutions to the existing problems in Limón/Moin”, he said.

In its first year full of operations in 2016, the US$992m modern, deep-water TCM facility is expected to handle one million teu, servicing the larger vessels now entering the Latin American trade lanes. On completion of the first phase of development that year, TCM will provide a throughput capacity of 1.3m teu annually along the six berth 600 metre quay, which will feature 2,800 reefer points.

Once fully operational during its 33-year concession, TCM will have an annual capacity of 2.7m teu with 1,500 metres of quay, nine berths and 6,500 reefer points.

Last year, agricultural products accounted for 35.9% of Costa Rica’s US$9.4bn worth of exports, according to World Trade Organisation (WTO) data, with merchandise imports of US$13.6bn, primarily of manufactured goods.

Costa Rican exports have been projected by IHS Global Insight to increase in value by 75% to US$16.7bn over the next five years; the country is currently the world’s largest exporter of pineapples and the fourth largest exporter of bananas.

As reefer cargoes become increasingly containerised, the need for container terminal access will become an even greater factor in Costa Rican global trade. At present, banana exports account for 34% of Costa Rica’s containerised exports, while pineapple represents 27%. Approximately half of all reefer cargoes move by container currently, with 85-90% containerisation forecast by 2035.

Captain Gallie emphasised that APM Terminals will initiate an aggressive Corporate Social Responsibility strategy in Costa Rica based upon its global experience in sustainable development.

“Our focus as a company will not only be on environmental protection measures, but just as importantly, the introduction of clean energy sources for reducing CO2 emissions at the facility, with extensive recycling processes at all levels within the operation as well as in the community at large” he emphasised.

Environmental sensitivity has been at the forefront of Costa Rican concerns; over the past 25 years the Central American nation bordering both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts has developed a multi-billion dollar national eco-tourism industry.

Slightly smaller than the US State of West Virginia in area, Costa Rica hosts 22 national parks, 12 biological reverses, 112 volcanic sites, and over 5% of the earth’s biodiversity, more than found in either Europe or North America.

“APM Terminals has a tremendous social responsibility as a company in Costa Rica and every country and community in which we do business,” said Gallie.

He added, “Through job creation, health and safety initiatives, business practices, pro-active environmental policies and our role in the global logistic chain and economic development, we possess great potential to create a positive change in local communities, a responsibility which is taken very seriously. We are very excited about Costa Rica’s future growth in global trade and leadership in environmental sensitivity and we are proud to be able to be a part of that process”.