At the same time in which dredging has started in order to increase capacity of tankers docking at Moin -with an expansion of the oil terminal which will be tendered in March 2011 - the workers voted overwhelmingly to re-elect union leaders who oppose granting management of the ports to the private sector.
This represents a blow to the Costa Rican government, which has acknowledged it has other plans to boost the indispensable modernization of port operations in the Caribbean, but to continue dialogue with the unions.
An article in Nacion.com, reviewed the immediate consequences of this union election, "Poor Limon, poor Costa Rica! The triumph of the union which opposes concessions and the modernization of the docks of Limon and Moin, responsible, along with politicians and governments of years past, of neglecting Limon, worsened violence and poverty in the province. You cannot fight drug trafficking and crime in an atmosphere of confusion, lawlessness, impunity, underdevelopment and union port privileges.”
The government of Costa Rica has put on hold "indefinitely" the process for the concession of the ports of Limon and Moin.
Caught between the demands of port efficiency by the productive sectors and the real power of the union, the Chinchilla administration has back tracked on its intention to grant concessions to private companies for the modernization and operation of the ports of Limon and Moin, and now intends to invest about $70 million to make sure that this essential modernization takes place, while keeping both terminals under the management of the Port Management Board of the Atlantic (JAPDEVA).
The technical proposal by APM Terminals was accepted, while the financial terms, $246 per container, must still be approved.
The deadline the National Concession Council had to decide whether to accept or reject the proposal made by APM Terminals had expired on December 23. The analysis on the proposal is now expected to be finalized in January when a decision will be made.
On May authorities will unveil the bidding rules for handling these two Costa Rican ports to private operators.
This was announced by Israel Oconotrillo, spokesperson for Japdeva (ports administrator on the Atlantic coast).
The start of this process required a signed agreement between the union of Japdeva workers and Japdeva itself, authorizing the port to be transferred to private operators by paying current employees $137 million in indemnification. Such agreement was finally signed on Tuesday, April 27.
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