The Port of Moín in Costa Rica Aims to Change Trade in the Caribbean
Dutch APM Terminals, owned by maritime giant the Maersk Group, completed work in 2019 at the Port of Moín in Limón Province, Costa Rica.
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During the first quarter of 2019, Dutch multinational APM Terminals, a subsidiary of Danish sea cargo transport giant Maersk, formally opened an ocean trade complex valued at 885 million euros at Port of Moín on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.
Located a distance of 379 kilometers (235.5 miles) from the strategic Panama Canal, the new Moín Container Terminal (MCT) allows for the docking of the largest vessels that access the canal to make the crossing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The Port of Moín will be Latin America’s most efficient
The first operations of the facility, which has been built on an artificial island off of the beach at Moín, in the province of Limón, commenced in November of 2018. This was eight years after the Costa Rican government awarded a thirty-year concession to operate the port to APM Terminals.
After 10 years of negotiating with the state port workers’ union, dealing with legal objections, overcoming pressures and concerns from the private sector, and troubleshooting technical difficulties that resulted in delays, the Dutch company began to offer services which it promised would result in a “radical strategic change in the region.” APM Terminal’s CEO, Morten Engelstoft, asserts that the container facility at the Port of Moín will soon be positioned as the most efficient such facility in all of Latin America, and will succeed in attracting and generating a large volume of business that will significantly impact current trade routes.
The new private terminal at the Port of Moín has reduced from 40 to 15 hours the average attention time that each ship needs to be processed to make a canal crossing. It is now able to handle vessels that are up to 320 meters long and 33 meters wide that are capable of transporting up to 8,000 containers in a single trip. This number far exceeds the current capacity of 2,500. The facility is also equipped with 39 electric container cranes. The six Super-Post Panamax gantry cranes at the terminal will be capable of handling container ships up to 8,500 TEUs. When full development of the facility is reached, the MCT aims to handle ships of up to 13,000 TEUs. The shortening of processing times along with the upgrade of Port of Moín facilities is projected to result in a significant reduction in overall logistics costs for shippers.
A major hub for transoceanic shipping
APM’s CEO, Engelstoft, predicts that the Port of Moín will become an important Central American hub for the shipment of fresh produce to market. Moín can easily become a principal platform for the transport of some of Costa Rica’s primary agricultural products such as bananas, coffee, and pineapples.
Additionally, the cargo terminal at the port will be used for the shipment of medical products that require refrigeration for their preservation, as well as for trade in other goods. It is estimated that the new Moín Container Terminal will increase its volume of business by over 285% of the trade that the pre-expansion and improvement facility handled.
Furthermore, Morten Engelstoft believes that the presence of the new MCT will draw new investment to the region. He notes that injecting $1 billion dollars into the local economy will most certainly trigger the arrival of more business to the Port of Moín such as hotels, restaurants, and tourist services.
To illustrate this point, he references a similar cascading effect that heavy investment had on Mexico’s port of Lázaro Cárdenas. In addition to investing considerable sums in the upgrade of facilities, the Mexican government established a Special Economic Zone there in 2017. Since then the port has succeeded in catching the attention of Asian investors.
The work that was required to establish APM’s Moín Container Terminal employed 650 individuals. It is predicted, however, that over the course of the next decade, the facility will generate up to 147,000 indirect jobs. Achieving this figure will, in part, be dependent upon the Costa Rican government’s promise to increase road and rail connectivity to the port.
According to the Managing Director of APM Terminals Moín, Kenneth Waugh, “Thanks to the new container terminal, we will no longer be a port for small boats that require merchandise to be transferred to reach their final destination, but a port that is able to receive today’s largest container ships with direct connections and reliable intermodal links to key markets.”
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