Port of Moin now and how it might change in the future.
We live about 30 min West of the Port of Moin. It’s our closest access to the Caribbean Sea. We go to Playa Bonita for birthday’s or anniversary’s because we can get a decent meal right next to the water. The waves roll over the tops of the rocks and we remind ourselves that we should spend more days in the ocean. Beaches in Moin are not in short supply, in fact Moin makes up a large portion of the coast above Puerto Limon. We have been on the beach a little bit North but don’t like to go there due to all the garbage strewn about. There are no garbage cans and people simply leave their trash (including dirty diapers) right along the coastline. The dogs then tear the trash apart in the night and the whole place looks sad.
This is the view from our special occasion restaurant, Cocori, to the South towards Limon there is rocky waterfront.
To the North is Playa Bonita on the left and the point is what hides the shipping port from our view. Quick note: the undertow is dangerous. If you swim here stay to the right.
On the other side of the point is the Port of Moin, or the perceived savior project of the Caribbean Coast. Currently, there is one deeply dug channel that gives large shipping vessels access to the dock.
Changes to the Shipping Dock
This landscape will be changing soon. If you have followed the Costa Rican news at all in the last 2 years you have probably heard that a 33 year contract has been signed with a Dutch company, APM terminals, to build a shipping complex to replace the current port. Three years to get her up and going and 30 years to re-coup the investment and make a profit. TCM is the name of the new facility. This project is of great interest to residents of the Limon Province. Many people are already talking about higher property values and lower pricing for imported goods. Currently, most containers with imported products arrive in Moin, get loaded on truck and driven to the company’s warehouse in San Jose. Limon residents pay higher costs for products because the shipping from San Jose is built in to the price. It can be very frustrating. Bataan, a town in Limon has the 5th highest prices in the country and millions of needed items pass right by the town’s entrance everyday. There is hope that this might change.
Did you know that Costa Rica is the largest pineapple exporter and the third largest banana exporter in the world. So for exporters this updated and larger facility will be a welcome change. Heck, the exporting companies are already asking for their own exchange rate. Strike while the iron is hot! The reasoning behind this has nothing to do with increasing the quality of life for the hardworking laborers who will work the dock and everything to do with higher profit margins that get sent back to the executives that live in “developed” nations. So my vote is No. You can try to make the most of your dollars just like those of us who live here.
Something I read in an article from porttechnology.org has me wondering “What does reclaimed land mean? Who are you reclaiming it from?” *Direct from article.
* In the first phase the TCM will consist of a 40 hectare area of reclaimed land off the Caribbean coast with 600 meters of quay, 2 berths, a 1.5 kilometer breakwater, a 16 meter deep access channel and 6 super-post Panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes. When fully completed, TCM will have an area of 80 hectares with 1,500 meters of quay, 5 berths, a 2.2 kilometer breakwater, an 18 meter deep access channel and 9 or more super-post Panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes.
I know that the CR Government has been sniffing around the coasts of Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo to “re-claim” land but I haven’t heard anything about the area around Moin. In an article from 2011, the 80 hectares were going to be all above the water (Latin Infrastructure Quarterly) I can’t find anything that states that the plan has changed. I’ll be interested to see what actually happens.
Road Access to Route 32
This is the access road that leads from the shipping port to Route 32 (the main road that goes to San Jose). This road has been targeted to be replaced with a brand new road. The estimated cost is 15 million USD for only 2.8 km’s of asphalt due to the sand and unstable land that is must be built on. Per kilometer it will be the most expensive road to build in all of Costa Rica.
There is also a plan in the works to widen Route 32 to four lanes from Guapiles to Moin. This route currently has a single lane on each side. It is common to see passenger buses passing tractor trailers over a double yellow line on a curve. There are also many pedestrian deaths along this route. Driving home one night we passed two dead bodies along the side of the road. Both men had been riding their bikes along the highway at night and had been hit by cars.
The Chinese Government will be funding the loan and be sending crews to facilitate the build of the road. The Chinese also have plans to build a new oil refinery in Limon. There is already a Chinese populous in Limon Province from the railroad projects of long ago and many are familiar with the new Chinatown being constructed in San Jose. We have hopes that the price of Tsing Tao will drop at the Limon MasXMenos and that these casado places that claim to have Chinese food will soon be serving actual Chinese food!
This is the public overlook of the port facility. The razor-wire keeps trespassers out of the terminal and also keeps sightseers from falling down the hill.
It will be interesting to see the changes that occur within the upcoming months.
From November 1st, 2013 an additional article we wrote for AM Costa Rica. http://kimberlybeck.net/moin-port-limon-costa-rica-new-apm-container-facility/