The victory of Alberto Fernández in Argentina’s general election threatens to scupper one of the headline projects put forward by the previous administration
That project is grouping all five container terminals in the Puerto Nuevo part of the port under a single concession in place of four at present – for last reports, see WorldCargo News, September 2019, p1 and also WorldCargo News, June 2019, p7.
Originally, it was hoped that this would result in investment of US$1.8B and that rates charged would be more competitive, as well as more transparent.
The adjudication process, which is being undertaken by the Transport Ministry and National Ports Authority (AGP), had previously been put back to December 2 following requests from potential bidders, who wanted “more time to analyse the specifications."
Currently, the AGP is in talks with Fernández’s political party, Frente de Todos, to determine the way forward, although the AGP has insisted that there will be no further changes to the implementation schedule as set out in law. Nevertheless, no decision is now expected until December 10, when the new government takes charge.
Rumours emanating from Buenos Aires heavily suggest that the previous government’s policy is unlikely to be retained as is. Indeed, the more likely outcome appears to be that of two competing concessions.
Small and medium-sized enterprises claim that the adoption of a single concessionaire could result in the loss of at least 500 jobs at a time when the economy is unsettled at best.
At present, Terminals Río de la Plata (TRP), which is a collaboration between DP World and a local company, is in charge of zones 1,2 and 3 at Puerto Nuevo. APMT has Terminal 4, and HPH Terminal 5. All these concessions would have been surrendered by 2020 under previous government policy, but could now be extended until May 2021 while the future structure of the port is debated. Four bids are known to have been entered: from TRP, APMT, HPH and ICTSI.
The Puerto Nuevo plans do not involve the Dock Sud operator, Exolgan.