Concession process advances on Port of Corozal

The process for granting the concession for “design, construction, development and operation” of the port of Corozal on the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal will reach a key milestone on April 11, 2016.

On that date the period will expire for interested companies to submit their documents for the implementation of the project, said the Vice President of Planning and Business Development of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), Oscar Bazan.

The administration of the ACP was authorized by its Board of Directors, under the resolution of October 30, 2014, “to start the process of pre-qualification and negotiated tender” for the project of Corozal, considered by the maritime industry as an urgent necessity to meet the growing demand for transshipment on the Pacific coast of Latin America.

Under this decision, the ACP opened the pre-qualification period from November 25, 2015.

Until closing time of The Bulletin, eleven global terminal operators had expressed interest in participating in the tender. They are: Terminal Investments Limited, S.A., of Luxemburg; Eurogate GmbH and Co., of Ger-many; Carrix, Inc., and Ports America,of the US; Patrick Terminals, of Australia; Hyun-dai Engineering and Construction Co., of South Korea; APM Terminals, of Denmark; CMA-CGM, of France; Evergreen, of Taiwan; China Shipping Ports Development Co. Ltd., in association with China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd., of China and Mitsui OSK Lines, of Japan.

Panama Ports Company, which, in 1998, won the concession for the ports of Balboa and Cristobal, sent a proposal to be granted the concession directly.

Among the requirements, the ACP has laid down is that the proposals adhere to the concept of a “green port”, implying that the proposals should include covering walls, a “live fence” and electric anti-noise cranes that reduce emissions. They must also implement the mitigation measures recommended by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which will be included in the statement of requirements of the tender.

The project will be implemented in two phases: Phase I involving the construction of 1,350 meters of docks, a container yard, office buildings, warehouses and other works and equipment necessary to handle 3 million twenty-foot containers (TEUs).

In Phase II, there will be 731 linear meters of dock and other works and equipment to handle an additional 2 million TEUs.

In the construction of the first stage, which should be ready by the end of 2018, 1,300 workers will be involved and in operation 2,600. In the construction of the second stage, there will be 800 workers and in operation 1,200 workers.

To make the port competitive, it will need to operate under the same rules that apply to other transshipment ports (Balboa, Cristobal, PSA Panama International Terminal, Manza-nillo International Terminal and Colon Container Terminal).

For this purpose, in coming weeks the government will present the Bill that will extend to the Corozal port the same tax benefits that apply to the other terminals.

Noting his satisfaction with the implementation of this project, a prominent member of the local maritime community said Corozal is the key to developing the potential of Panama as a regional logistics hub. “If the port capacity is not expanded on the Pacific coast, the main beneficiaries of the Canal expansion will be the Colombian ports of Buenaventura (Pacific) and Cartagena (Atlantic),” he said.

The Panama Canal Railway Co., operator of the transistmican railway that serves the terminal ports of the Canal, announced that it is prepared to invest more than $75 million in expansion and upgrading the system as soon as granting of the Corozal concession is announced (see The Bulletin, August 10, 2015).

Under the business model designed for Corozal, the concessionaire will bear most of the investment, which includes the construction of docks, buildings and patios, dredging the berths and wharves, and installing equipment. “The ACP will provide the land and bear the costs of dredging the port access,” said Bazan.

As for the business model, he said the concession holder will pay the ACP for the right of the award an annual amount that will range from $25 to $100 million at the end of the twenty years of the concession. Out of the fees and charges all port operators pay the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) for transshipment operations.

These obligations include payment of $12 per container movement ($3 extra for local cargo); the rental fee for land and water, whose prices vary depending on the location and conditions of the land areas; funding rates and a service fee for lighthouses and buoys, and a wharfage charge at the rate of $6 per vehicle movement, in the event that rolling cargo is handled.

Source: The Bulletin Panama

Source: Hellenic shipping news