Staff members of the Union of Japdeva Port Associations (Sintrajap) are protesting against the concession to the Dutch firm APM Terminals to build a container terminal in Moin, an investment project costing $22 million approved by the Controller General of the Republic.
Seven ships are waiting to load or unload goods at bay in front of the terminal. A ship in Limon needs to unload 40 containers on land. Meanwhile, the losses accumulate, every day of waiting means a losses of up to $40,000 (¢ 20.3 million), reported Nacion.com.
80% of exports and imports from across the country and an important part of Nicaragua pass through the port of Limon.
The protest in the Caribbean has started at a time when porters, bus drivers and teachers and staff from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) are also taking or announcing action against the Government.
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Police entered the ports of Moin and Limon, which had been paralyzed for two days because of a strike, reactivating the loading and unloading of goods.
On Tuesday 12 June, the Trade Unions of Japdeva began a strike at the ports of Limon and Moin, protesting against an award made by the Costa Rican government for the construction and operation of a dock for container ships to the Dutch firm APM Terminals.
Union members went on strike indefinitely in the port terminals of Moin and Limon, through which pass 80% of international trade by the country and the region.
Business leaders from various productive sectors reported losses caused by the strike, while managers of port administration are looking for alternative labour in order to restart the loading and unloading.
The government of Costa Rica has put on hold "indefinitely" the process for the concession of the ports of Limon and Moin.
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).
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.