Construction of moín container terminal gets underway
New Costa Rica facility will be able to handle 3.2m teu
APM Terminals is just weeks away from getting the Environmental Licence for Moín Container Terminal in Costa Rica,
which represents a huge total investment of over a billion dollars and when fully developed will be able to handle 3.2 million teu – three times the amount handled by the present facility.
With 72 terminals APM Terminals has the most comprehensive terminal network in the world. The company was awarded the 33-year concession from the Costa Rican government in March 2011 following a public tender.
Paul Gallie, Managing Director of APM Terminals Moín comments:
The new terminal has a great deal of potential with its close proximity to the Panama Canal.
APM Terminals spent more than a year studying the environment and meteorological conditions, carrying out soil investigation, which included drilling 100 bore holes. Eventually, APM’s Environmental Impact Assessment comprised 3,000 pages.
“We are taking a lot of mitigating measures to care for the flora and fauna and in the terminal itself all the equipment is electric. Eco-friendly cranes will be installed and the Rubber Tyred Gantry cranes are all electric. Overall, we will deploy many power saving devices and an intelligent power management system for the 3,000 reefers.”
Construction work is expected to start this June and the first phase, which represents an investment of $663 million, will take three years to complete. APM Terminals awarded the contract for the design and construction to Van Oord and BAM International and they have already started procuring the rock to build the 1.5 km breakwater.
Mr Gallie, who was at sea for 23 years, sailing up to the rank of Captain, admits that Costa Rica is significantly behind in terms of port infrastructure.
“80% of traffic goes through the existing port. This means that there is insufficient berthing space for the amount of traffic. In 2013, the average waiting time was 30 hours! You can also imagine the environmental impact of all these ships and trucks spending hours waiting.”
Another major problem APM Terminals is addressing is the depth of water, which is only around 11 m, restricting the size of vessels to 2,500 teu.
“When considering that Moín is only 12 hours from the Panama Canal, it has never been able to take full advantage of this. And now with the extension of the Canal it is vital to upgrade the facility so the largest ships can access Costa Rica.”
APM Terminals will dredge the access channel to 16 m, which will allow 8,500 teu ships to call and it is creating a Post-Panamax berth of 650 m initially, to be extended to 1,500 m.
The current terminal does not have adequate breakwater protection, he explains, which means it is closed for up to 10 days a year due to poor weather conditions. To address this issue an artificial island is being created and the new terminal will be protected by a large, rock breakwater.
Additionally, the existing cargo handling equipment is very old. Under the first phase, APM Terminals will equip the terminal with six new super Post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes, able to handle 23 rows wide and 10 tier deck stows, plus 23 electric RTGs and five rail mounted gantries.
APM Terminals is confident that the new facility, combined with its expertise, will be able to bring more business to Costa Rica. “We have terminals all around the world and a good relationship with all our shipping lines. This project will also lead to more competition – larger ships with greater economies of scale. And some lines will come that didn’t want to wait in the long queues before.”
Increasing containerisation in the perishables sector, in which Costa Rica is a major player, is also important for the terminal’s future.
Moín Container Terminal will also boost employment significantly. Around 400 people will work there and the company expects to see the development of a Free Trade Zone, distribution centres and manufacturing companies, he says, adding that indirectly at least 5,000 jobs will be created.
Mr Gallie is confident about the facility’s prospects, adding, “With the flexibility it brings, the increase in capacity and the expansion of the Panama Canal, we are certain Moín Container Terminal has a healthy future.”