Private sector looking to avoid port collapse after APM closure

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By LatAm Reports Staff Writers

A temporary solution through a service provision contract with APM Terminals is one of the proposals put forward by the private sector organized and port users.

Representatives of the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry (CIG) and the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (Cacif) have shared possible scenarios to resolve in a temporary way, the problem arising from the imminent closure of operations of APM Terminals Quetzal in Escuintla, due to the nullity of the contract ordered by the Fifth Administrative Court.

In a more relaxed tone and with greater certainty, Raúl Bouscayrol, president of the board of directors of the IGC, explained that they have had approaches that aim to find an early solution, which includes the non-stop of the port operations of the container terminal.

He clarified that for the time being, there is no official position, but that everything is in development with an approach to finding solutions to the problem. Have we raised the alert voice; on the legal issue, there is no longer much that can be done. But it must be rescued that the model is a private international operator operating efficiently the container terminal, he said.

Then, some transitional mechanism should be found to allow, while an international tender, that any private operator can provide the services offered today by APM Terminals. And respecting that model, you can give an orderly transition.

The temporary contract would depend on the phases that can last an international event to find a port operator, which can last between one and two years.

The business leader emphasized that the paralysis of the terminal is not an option for the country and this concern has already been transferred to the authorities on duty, those who perceive it and understand it.

Carmen María Torrebiarte, president of the Cacif, mentioned that work is being done and there are rapprochements with the Executive, Legislative and the private sector. We are looking for a mechanism to continue to function within the law, while international tenders can be worked, he said.


José Andrés Ardón, executive director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness (ICE), said that it should be privileged for the operations of the terminal to continue, which means that the Quetzal Port Company (EPQ), which is responsible for the land, can somehow make a tender or sign a contract with the same APM Terminals, so that it continues with the operation of the equipment and prevents a paralysis in foreign trade.

But it is necessary that in the medium and long term decisions be taken on a new concession, which in this case should be a more competitive process. Operations must be prevented from stopping at the moment and there are several exits: one can be the rent of the equipment, he said.

For Ardon it makes sense for an operation of this nature because it would give EPQ time to make a more transparent and competitive contest.

This article has been translated after first appearing in Prensa Libre