For years the citizens of the province of Limon have battled with a poor economy, few employment opportunities, high poverty rates, and insecurity due to heavy drug trafficking. With this new $1 billion investment, Puerto Limon is hoping to finally see an economic up-turn for everyone, and the bad memories will be a thing of the past.
The new mega-project that has been approved for the container terminal in Moin will be managed by the Dutch Company, APM Terminals, and work on the project is expected to start in 2018. The project was also granted a concession for the next 33 years, and is expected to generate a greater competitive presence for Puerto Limon itself.
Once completed the new port will have the capacity to service ships with as many as 8,000 containers, as compared to the 2,500 container capacity the port can handle at present. Previously each vessel would take 50 hours for processing, and a cost of $223 per container. The new port will be equipped to process ships in as little as 13 hours per vessel. Over 80% of the labor force will be found in Costa Rica, and once the construction phase has been completed, will generate regular employment for 1,000 employees.
When compared to the competitiveness of other ports, Costa Rica ranks very poorly at #115 of 144 countries as evaluated by the World Economic Form. This low ranking is one of the primary reasons for the years of stagnation in foreign investment in this region, and is expected to be reversed once the upgrade to the port has been completed.
Winds of change can be felt in this Caribbean province. Real estate developments are beginning to take shape, and it is expected that more private investors will start projects which will have an indirect benefit to hardware stores, local quarries, and business in general. However, developers still need the authorities to solve local problems, such as access to drinking water, lack of regulatory plans, projects like the multi-modal airport, a railway line from Guanacaste, and expansion of Route 23 to create a more secure road and faster access to the region.
Arrival of cruise ships
According to data from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), the arrival of cruise ships during 2014 generated an income of $20 million. Which is another reason authorities are looking to expand this point of entry and departure as it will attract more tourists to stay in the country longer, similar to what has been seen in the ports in Cartagena, Columbia, and Colon, Panama. The great weakness is that, at present, there are no upgraded facilities sufficient for passengers to arrive or disembark with ease. The Costa Rican government is committed to a recovery plan with the aim of more and more cruise ships returning to Puerto Limon. In the past, the Port recorded the arrival of 269 cruise ships with a total of 418,000 tourists.
Real estate development
Real estate development projects around Puerto Limon are expected to increase as it will be the home of numerous engineers and administrators in the next few years. Caribbean Condominiums Park is one of the new projects that was recently inaugurated. This project will bring many benefits to the Limon province similar to the benefits found in developments in San Jose. Given the quality of design, the club house, and added security, the Park will become the most exclusive project in Puerto Limon.
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