The port terminal, built at a cost of $200 million and opened in 2010, to date has little maritime activity.
Business groups have spent a lot of money in the business of transporting containers and goods, hotels to accommodate the waves of foreign tourists expected, and there were those who spent large sums on land, warehouses and other buildings. Instead of increasing fortunes, what local investors have experienced is frustration and disappointment. Along with sums contributed by the private sector, are the substantial funds spent by the State which do not helped much either.
The port has a very low level of activity, with shipping vessels arriving from time to time, but nothing like the level of occupancy than was expected when it was completed, reports Elsalvador.com.
Santiago Melendez, president of Grupo Empresarial de Usulután, said that "one of the major problems that has to be addressed in order to get the port working is lack of safety in the country." He says this because in his view, foreign investors are afraid because the country is violent. This keeps investment away. "Logically, if there isn’t any security, there is no investment and if there is no investment the port simply does not work."
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The new General Law on Ports supports private investment in the development of national port infrastructure.
According to Joseph Adam Aguerri, president of the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep), the law will enable the sector to "contribute to the improvement of existing ports."
The Guatemalan government is committed to public-private partnerships that encourage investment in infrastructure.
Airports, ports and national highways could be built with input from the private sector through the creation of the new Council for the Promotion of Public-Private Partnerships, which aims to stimulate infrastructure projects crucial for the economic development of the country.
A new law is close to being approved which will enable foreign investment in port infrastructure through public concessions.
The National Assembly must approve this week the new General Law on Ports, an important request by domestic and foreign investors for major port development, and which has a consensus between the private sector and government.
It has been announced that under the DR-CAFTA, a U.S. company will participate in the bidding for the concession without having to be prequalified.
"I will receive this company next week and want them to take part because under the Free Trade Agreement between Central America, the Dominican Republic and the U.S.