APM Terminals is set to begin construction on a new US$1bn terminal in the Costa Rican port of Limón after years of delays caused by opposition from unions and environmental groups.
The national Technical Secretariat of the Environment Ministry (Setena) announced this week that it had approved the project’s environmental impact study, one of the last hurdles. The announcement was issued ahead of schedule after previously issuing a statement saying it would not announce its decision until March 2015.
According to a report in the Tico Times, environmental lawyer Álvaro Sagot and Mauricio Álvarez of the Costa Rican Federation for Environmental Conservation (Fecon) had urged Setena to reject the environmental impact assessment and plan to appeal the decision to the environment minister Edgar Gutiérrez, probably in early January.
Sagot said that if the appeal to Gutiérrez was unsuccessful they would turn to the Administrative Contention Court. |
“Limón deserves development, that goes without saying, but not at the cost of the environment,” Sagot told the newspaper.
However, business leaders welcomed the announcement.
“Costa Rica urgently needs to modernise its Caribbean ports,” said Ronald Jiménez, president of the Union of Private Sector Chambers and Associations. “According to the Global Competitiveness Index, Costa Rica is among the nations with the worst port infrastructure, ranking 115th out of 144 countries studied.”