After 13 port operators expressed interest at an earlier stage, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for companies interested in competing to design, develop, finance, construct, operate and maintain the Corozal Container Terminal.
"What we've seen confirms the strong demand existing for the Canal and the need for greater port capacity on its Pacific side," said ACP Administrator Jorge Quijano. "We're eager to advance the development of the Port and will ensure the concession is delivered through a transparent and participatory bidding process to bring the best performance possible to the Canal and, therefore, the country."
“The Corozal Container Terminal will be located at the Pacific entrance of the waterway, and is intended to be a common user container transshipment terminal which will distribute cargo to the region, including the West Coast of South America, Central America and the Caribbean. It will provide services to reposition empty containers and handle local cargo, and is the first of several planned projects to enhance the country's logistics capacity” the ACP stated.
To limit environmental impact the facility must be a “Green Terminal”, with anti-noise perimeter walls and “electrical devices producing zero carbon emissions, along with a number of other elements recommended by a recent Environmental Impact Study (EIS)”.
The ACP is looking for experienced players (including joint ventures), and bidders must show a minimum of eight years terminal operating experience, have operated at least six terminals in a calendar year with a throughput of at least 6M TEU in the last 12 months (including at least two 1M TEU+ terminals). The successful bidder will also need to show a reference for design and build of a 1M TEU+ terminal in the last decade.
The RFQ was issued just days after PSA Panama started work on its expansion
, which will expand the PSA Panama International Terminal from a 450,000 TEU terminal to a 2M TEU facility. According to a presentation from Panama Ports Company CCO Edgar Pineda at TOC America in Panama last month, ports on the Pacific side of the Canal will handle around 3.7M TEU in 2016, but capacity will reach almost 5.6M TEU when PSA Panama’s project is complete.
Despite the fact that growth in global container traffic is clearly slowing down, the ACP requires that all 5M TEU of capacity at Corozal be developed within eight years of the signing of an agreement. The first three berths on 1350m of quay must be completed within two years.
Responses to the RFQ are due by 30 December, after which the ACP will move on to the next stage, which is a “Request for Proposals (RFP) and tender for prospective companies.”