Officials from the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) on Friday morning approved the reopening of the Braulio Carrillo Highway, or Route 32 between San José and the Caribbean province of Limón after landslides had closed it for nearly 80 hours. At 5 p.m., two new landslides again closed the road.
Approximately 70 percent of Costa Rican exports leave the country through Caribbean docks, and according to estimates by the Costa Rican Chamber of Exporters (CADEXCO), the four-day road closure cost exporters a total of $800,000.
The figure includes mainly fuel costs, as trucks were forced to use alternate routes. Most traveled to Limón via the old Turrialba route in the province of Cartago, east of San José.
CADEXCO Executive Director Luis Vargas Bolívar on Friday evening said that according to a survey conducted among its members, the highway closure on average cost each local exporter additional expenses of up to 30 percent.
Vargas said some 3,500 container trucks had been stranded since Monday at the docks in the Caribbean port cities of Limón and Moín. He also said the export sector is concerned about bad weather the previous week that also affected the docking of several cargo boats.
Chamber leaders and MOPT officials have been meeting in the past weeks to assess the situation, but they have not reached an agreement on a possible solution, Vargas said.
Passage of vehicles on Route 32 on Saturday morning remained closed, a situation that happens repeatedly during Costa Rica’s rainy season from May to November.