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Business News Americas

Local Company Wins Las Américas Port Design Contract

November 9, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Business News Americas. All rights reserved.

Puerto Rico consultancy (PR) Iglesias Vázquez y Asociados has won a contract to design the first phase of the island's US$700mn Puerto Las Américas port project (PLA), according to PR governor Sila Calderón.

The company will work in collaboration with US consultant Moffatt & Nichol on the project's first phase, which covers roughly 36% of the entire initiative.


Docks 4, 5, and 6 at the port have already been rehabilitated, opening up 1,200ft (366m) of docking space. The US$40mn project included buying a US$2.8mn Gottwald crane with Panamax and post-Panamax capabilities, Sandra Pomales, spokesperson for PR's economic development department told BNamericas.

Puerto Rico's development bank GDB funded the work, while a government-backed port bond will go to repay the bank.

Rehabilitation work has already attracted private investment, governor Calderón said, with Pepsi Cola coming to an agreement with local bulk-liquid transportation services specialists Flexitank to build an US$18mn juice terminal.


Meanwhile, international bidding for the second, approximate US$450mn construction phase ended unsuccessfully mid-October. "Proposals for terminal design and construction of PLA were declared null and void, as they didn't meet the requirements set by port authorities," newly appointed PLA executive director Ramón Torres told BNamericas in an e-mail.

PLA will now design the port's second phase, which covers about 64% of the entire project, with bidding going only for construction. The port authority aims to hold this second round of international bidding in December in time for a July 2005 award, governor Calderón said.

Las Américas port authorities will be responsible for port administration and will announce the name of its chosen terminal operator within the next few days.


The local unit of one of the US' largest dredging service providers, Weeks Marine has won a US$17mn contract for port dredging works at PLA's Ponce bay. Weeks Marine will dredge a 1,200ft-long canal with a 400m turning radius, going down to depths of 50ft.

Dredging is scheduled to take 10 months, and local environmental authorities have already approved the project under island environmental policies. On November 15, the US Geological Services start the US$125,000 bathymetric studies needed to gauge the bay's depth prior to dredging.

Once the project is completely finished, the port will be some 3,000ft long, according to Torres. The 1.4m-TEU port is expected to create 10,000 new jobs and 6,000 indirect jobs, BNamericas previously reported.

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