The container terminal in the Caribbean port of Moín will open in February 2019, 13 months later than originally agreed, Dutch concessionaire APM Terminals confirmed Wednesday.
General Manager Kenneth Waugh said at a press conference that the company has informed the government that the new $1 billion project will not be ready as expected in January 2018.
“We are at 70 percent of the work, but unexpected events force us to rethink the timetable, and force us to make changes in the sequences of the tasks,” Waugh said.
The unexpected situations relate to the surface compaction of the 40-hectare artificial island for the port, repairs in the breakwater, and problems with the angles of 20 piles.
The arrears will represent additional costs for the contractor ranging from $50 to $60 million, Waugh said.
These costs include fines for the delay, for losses for each day that the terminal is not in operation, and for additional construction time, among aspects. The company estimates that, in fines alone, it will have to pay some $900,000.
Technical Secretary of the National Concessions Council Sylvia Jiménez said in a public statement that the council cannot yet specify an exact figure for the fines that APM will have to pay.
She said preliminary estimates indicate that the economic impact on revenues for APM Terminals would be approximately $480 million. They based the calculation on lost traffic from some 2 million containers at a rate of $240 each.
Public Works and Transport Minister Germán Valverde said that the delay will not affect the country’s commercial sector, as the Atlantic Port Authority will continue offering import and export cargo mobilization services at its terminal.
Business sector react
For the most part, business groups in the country accepted APM Terminals’ announcement and its arguments, because the company confirmed that it will assume full costs of arrears.
Director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Industries Francisco Gamboa said in a public statement that APM Terminals’ position regarding the delays “shows a responsible and realistic attitude.”
Gamboa described as positive the fact that costs of the delay will not have an economic impact for either companies or consumers.
The Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) said that the delays are understandable, as the new port terminal is a complex project.
Regarding APM’s position of assuming all costs, AmCham President Dennis Whitelaw said the company’s action highlights the advantages of doing public works projects through concessions. He also said that it is necessary to strengthen this financing model for other public projects here.
President of the Costa Rican Union of Private-Sector Chambers and Associations Franco Arturo Pacheco said that delays in the project will not affect local businesses.
He noted, however, that the news should not cause delays at related projects, such as the construction of Route 257.
The new two-kilometer highway is a project that the government pledged to build to connect the terminal with Route 32, the main route between Limón and San José.
Work on the Moín Cargo Terminal launched in January 2015 with the construction of a 1.5-meter-heigh (5-feet) breakwater and the dredging of 16 meters (52 ft) from the ocean floor.