Dutch-based container terminal operator APM Terminals plans to turn its terminal at Costa Rica’s Port of Limón-Moin into a regional hub for perishable cargo carried in refrigerated containers (reefers).
APM Terminals Moin will allocate 60-70% of the terminal to refrigerated storage capacity for handling of the temperature controlled containers through which fresh fruit such as pineapple and bananas are now being transported to Costa Rica’s export markets in North America and Europe.
Costa Rica is currently the world’s largest exporter of pineapples, and the 3rd-largest exporter of bananas. Sugar, coffee and beef are also major export products. Much of the country’s exports of agricultural and meat products are temperature controlled; and are increasingly moving in reefers as opposed to being transported by dedicated refrigerated vessels.
Costa Rica’s Port of Limón-Moin ranked 13th in Latin America, and 4th in Central America with container volume of 1.09 million TEUs in 2014. Over the next 15 years, reefer container shipments from Costa Rica are projected to double from an estimated 300,000 TEUs to 600,000 TEUs. Pineapples and bananas alone at present account for a combined 13% of all Costa Rican exports.
“The future of temperature-controlled shipments is containers, and the larger containerships dedicated space to reefer cargoes. The advanced technology of APM Terminals Moin next-generation cranes will improve safety as well as efficiency, with improved environmental performance essential to handling these ships and attracting more business for Costa Rica in the port, and across the country,” said Kenneth Waugh, Managing Director of APM Terminals Costa Rica.
APM Terminals Moin recently concluded a contract for the delivery of six electric-powered STS cranes and 29 electric-powered Rubber Tire Gantry Cranes (eRTGs) which will make the 1.3 million TEU, deep water container terminal one of the most advanced in Latin America upon completion of Phase One in 2018.
Dredging is underway of the access channel and turning‐basin to be deepened to 16 meters. Other construction projects include the construction of a new 1.5 kilometer breakwater with a 40 hectare container yard, 600 meters of quay and 2 berths equipped with 6 post‐Panamax cranes.
Upon the completion of the project’s final phase, the facility will cover an area of 80 hectares, with 1,500 meters of quay, 5 berths, a 2.2 km breakwater and an access channel 18 meters deep, serving as a shipping hub for the Caribbean and Central America.
The opening of the expanded Panama Canal locks in 2016 will essentially triple the size of container vessels able to transit the canal to 12,500 TEU capacity, which current facilities at the Port of Limon are unable to handle. The current port, with a draft of 9 meters, is limited to vessels of 2,500 TEU capacity. Newer vessels on order for the Latin American trades include five 10,500 TEU vessels for German-based Hapag-Lloyd, each equipped to carry 2,100 reefer containers (4,200 TEUs).