San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Billion-dollar Moín port deal hits snag

Plans to build a $1 billion shipping terminal at the Caribbean port of Moín may have hit a snag.

A legislative commission examining the details of the deal, which was signed in August with the Dutch company APM Terminals and which represents the single largest concession contract ever signed in Costa Rica, issued a report Thursday recommending that Comptroller General of the Republic, Rocío Aguilar, not approve the deal, the daily La Nación reported.

Plans for the port include 13 cranes and a six-slip shipping dock large enough to accommodate Post-Panamax ships, which are capable of carrying about 5,000 to 12,000 shipping containers. In August, President Laura Chinchilla said the project would generate approximately 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, most of which, according to APM Terminals representatives, would be hired locally.

If approved, construction for the port is slated to begin by 2013 and be completed by 2016.

The reasons given by the commission for delaying approval of the project are two administrative complaints filed against the concession by the National Banana Workers Chamber and the Atlantic Port Authority’s union, which are still pending resolution.

To move ahead on the project with the complaints still pending could lead to lawsuits or nullification actions resulting in claims of millions of dollars against the state, according to the commission.

Members of the National Liberation Party (PLN) issued a report of their own on Wednesday urging approval of the port plan.

The concession, said Fabio Molina Rojas, a PLN legislator, will “strengthen the country’s development not only because we will operate more efficiently, but also because we will generate many jobs.”

The Comptroller General has until Oct. 21 to approve or reject the plan.

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