Three judges will rule in upcoming days on the fate of the $1 billion Moín Port project, on the northern Caribbean coast.
The renovation contract would help modernize an area that currently has two of the worst ports in the world, proponents said. But unions representing dockworkers and banana producers filed lawsuits against several government entities and the Dutch multinational company APM Terminals to try to halt the private concession – the largest in the country’s history.
During a trial last week, the National Banana Workers Chamber and the Atlantic Port Authority’s union (SINTRAJAP) asked judges to annul the concession, which was signed by President Laura Chinchilla last August (TT, June 22). Union lawyers claimed the contract was done without the completion of proper economic, environmental and technical studies, and they alleged that the approved per-container rates are too high.
In October, judges rejected an injunction filed by unions to block the contract. The National Concessions Council gave the project the green light in March, prompting unions to file the current suit. Legal arguments were heard last week, and the evidential phase of the trial concluded July 6.
In Latin America, APM Terminals operates ports in Argentina, Brazil and Peru. If the company can outlast the legal battles, Moín will be the company’s first port in Central America, and one of the region’s biggest.