Union Twists Government’s Arm

The government of Costa Rica has put on hold "indefinitely" the process for the concession of the ports of Limon and Moin.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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 negotiations held with JAPDEVA union officials failed to overcome the resistance of the syndicate and the government is now apparently counting on a change in leadership of the union, which means waiting until at least January 2013 when new elections will be held.

Meanwhile, the process of awarding the concession in the Moin area to a new container port, Dutch APM Terminals, continues.

Among the measures taken for the modernization of the Atlantic ports, the government of Costa Rica includes an increase in port charges as an immediate step towards reorganizing JAPDEVA ‘s finances, and the elimination of 500 jobs. This latter step has been strictly rejected by the union. The president of JAPDEVA, Allan Hill, said that a reduction in labor costs will be made with or without union agreement.

Hidalgo had been emphatic in assuring that the concession of the ports is a done deal. Hopefully, the decisions that have been announced will become firmer as the efficient operation of the ports of Limon and Moin are vital for the Costa Rican economy. 80% of goods entering or leaving the country move through those ports.

Main Source: JAPDEVA Press Office

More on this topic

Ports in Limon Lag Behind

June 2011

Despite the delays, modernization initiatives are emerging as potential positive signals for the Costa Rican ports.

The ports of Moin and Limon, two gateways of international trade into the country, are lagging behind compared to other ports in the region and Latin America.

Costa Rica: Controversy Continues on Port Reform

March 2011

In what seems a never ending story, the government of Costa Rica has opened the possibility for new dialogue with unions from the ports of Limon and Moin.

The Costa Rican government announced that in discussions with port unions (SINTRAJAP) a two month timeframe to reach an agreement was set.

Port Concessions Paralyzed in Costa Rica

August 2010

The Supreme Court has annulled an agreement reached with port workers who endorsed the concession of the Limón and Moín port operations.

The ruling also orders the reinstatement of the previous union board of directors, who opposed the concession of port operations to private companies.

Limon and Moin Ports Go Out to Tender on May

April 2010

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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