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RETHINKING THE PANAMA CANAL ..










Shadow looms over Panama hub ports








Investing almost one billion dollars on a container terminal in Moin, Puerto Limon, the AP¨Moller Maersk Group, owner of the world’s largest container line, indicates that its transshipment operations do not need to be on the banks of the Panama Canal.




APM Terminals has received the green light for the Moin concession from the comptroller of the Costa Rican government, Moin and Puerto Limon are only about 14 hours steaming from the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal.



French container line CMA-CGM recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jamaican government to develop a hub in Kingston, only two days from the Canal, while Cartagena, Colombia, is developing its container facilities only about 19 hours sailing to the west of the Canal.


With this latest deal in Moin, APM will begin the implementation phase of 18 months for all the studies and final design work for government approval. The next step is to dredge the access and other channels.



“APM Terminals is very pleased with the progress and dedication with which the government of Costa Rica has focused on advancing this project. The administration has given it a top priority and we are ready to inaugurate the first phase of this project as planned in 2016,” said Paul J. Gallie, managing director of APM Terminals Moin, SA.



The concession is for 33 years and will require an estimated investment of $992 million by APM for design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of a world-class container terminal on the Caribbean, the largest single investment project in the country. Currently the Caribbean port handles 80% of the country’s international trade.




Once completed, the Moin terminal will have a total area of 80 hectares with 1,500 meters of quay space for five ships, 2.2 kilometers of breakwaters, 18 feet deep in the access channel and 16 along the pier and also nine or more cranes for super-post-Panamax ships.



APM Terminals is also targeting emerging markets to counter slower growth in southern Europe and the US.




The director of APM Terminals, Kim Fejfer, has said that the company has grown very little since the financial crisis of 2008 and that it has to change its strategy, now targeting growth in Asia, Africa and South America.



“My strategy is very clear. We need to change the composition of our portfolio toward fast-growing countries,” said Fejfer.



APM Terminals is one of the four largest port operators, together with Singapore’s PSA, Hutchison Whampoa’s Hutchison Port Holdings of Hong Kong and DP World of Dubai.



In the first six months of 2011 there were signs of change in the strategy of APM.



As well as the group being selected as builder and operator of the container terminal in Moin, it has won a new concession to operate the port of Callao in Peru.


While the largest customer of APM Terminals is Maersk Line, another branch of AP Moller-Maersk, almost half of the total volume is handled in the ports for other clients, said Fejfer.




As an indication of the importance on Callao to AMP Terminals, its promotion states: “The multipurpose Port of Callao is the gateway to Peru – the fourth largest economy in South America.  The port is located only 15 kilometers from the capital city Lima and is the largest port not only in Peru but on the entire West Coast of South America”.

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Alphonso (mango)
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