ICA expects Punta Colonet tender to be launched in 2010

By
Monday, March 9, 2009

Mexico's largest construction firm, ICA (BMV, NYSE: ICA), does not expect the 50bn-peso (US$3.26bn) Punta Colonet port project, in Baja California state, to be tendered before 2010, the firm's VP of administration and finance, Alonso Quintana, told BNamericas.

"Punta Colonet has been delayed considerably, as it is a very, very large project involving building railroads to adequately handle containers and have them sent to the US," Quintana said. "We do not expect to see any bidding rules or documents published before next year."

"We would of course form a consortium to participate in the project as it is much too large for us to undertake by ourselves," he added.

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The executive also said the fact that it is a concession and not a public works projects is a relevant issue for the company.

"The reason we have been able to manage such a large backlog is because we have combined projects that require capital - concessions - and projects that are merely public works," Quintana said.

ICA's backlog is currently at 42bn pesos, a record figure for the company.

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

On January 27 this year, the transport and communications ministry (SCT) invited firms interested in the project to register by May 15.

The announcement followed a statement made on January 14 that the tender would be postponed indefinitely due to the global economic crisis, the second time the project had been delayed.

According to SCT's new schedule, the concession will be awarded on August 31 this year.

THE PORT

Punta Colonet is the largest, most important project in President Felipe Calderón's 2007-12 national infrastructure plan PNI.

Located on the Pacific coast, Punta Colonet will cover a total of 10,000ha and handle 8Mt/y of cargo in the mid-term.

In addition to facilitating Asian exports to the US, it will provide an alternative to the country's Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, which are currently operating at maximum capacity.

Several companies from the US, Europe and Asia have expressed interest in the project.

Companies include multinational port operator Hutchison Port Holdings and French container shipping company CMA-CGM. Construction will take 4-5 years.