Caldera port concessionaires to begin ops. Apr.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Costa Rica's public works ministry has announced two private companies will begin operation of the Caldera port in Puntarenas province as of April, La Nacion reported.

Colombian-Costa Rican firm Consorcio Portuario de Caldera won the concession to operate the existing cargo terminal and build a grains terminal, while Chile's SAAM has won the concession to provide tugboat services.

The government has approved a budget of 70bn colones (US$172mn) for works of which 3.4bn (US$8.3mn) will go towards pier workers' compensation.

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The country's comptroller must endorse the contract, the paper added.

The grains terminal contract is being complemented by a concession to upgrade the highway linking Caldera with Costa Rica capital San Jose, which will reduce travel time from two hours to 40 minutes, BNamericas previously reported. Argentina's Cartellone consortium holds the concession rights to the highway.

The success of the Pacific ports concessions may pave the way for the incorporation of private capital in Costa Rica's principal Caribbean ports of Limon and Moin.

Some 37% of Costa Rica's imports enter through Caldera port.