Multiple port operators in the United States, China, and Europe have expressed interest in the contracts available in the recent Port of Aguadulce project. The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) plans to develop a modern, multipurpose terminal in the area that was once the Port of Aguadulce. This initiative would expand the capacity of the former port, which ceased operations in 2008.
The objectives are to increase the ability to deliver maritime services by creating significant connectivity to transport within the nation. This will empower the agribusiness sector by creating a center that generates value added to the cargo. The construction hopes to meet the need for a bulk terminal on the Pacific coast, which will reduce the cost of transporting these type of items.
The initial target of this investment is to develop the central provinces. However, AMP officials are confident that this project will ultimately benefit the entire country.
This transformation includes the renewal of the infrastructure and the promotion of port to port shipping within Panama. Domestic producers will have access to cheaper and safer means of transportation.
This multipurpose terminal will include a section for containerized cargo, a zone for fuel storage, grain silos, and warehouses for other goods. These major constructions and tendering procedures imply complex engineering and operations; therefore, the build-operate-transfer contracts are the sort of contract that apply. In these contracts, the most important and predominant criteria for the evaluation are the experience and the financial standing of the participating companies.
The tender for best-value of the design, construction, operation, and maintenance, of a multipurpose terminal in that area was opened in June by the AMP, which will receive bids in October 2015. The plans to grant maritime and port operations are based on the investor, the investment plans, structure, potential customers, and the types of ships and cargo to be managed. Once the contracts are endorsed, the project should begin operations within three years, with the completion estimated at 20 years.
The port is located about 7 kilometers from the Pacific coast, in the estuary of Palo Blanco (Parita Bay). About 200 kilometers from Panama City. A road of 5 kilometers connects the port with the city. Panama built the Port of Aguadulce in 1923 in order to meet the requirements of the region, which needed a port infrastructure to allow local producers to sell their products.
Twenty-six hectares of the current facilities of the Port of Aguadulce will be part of the tendered area. However, the environmental responsibility of the AMP has excluded a natural reserve of 3 hectares of mangroves located within the port area. The tender documents determine a seabed area that the contractor can request in concession if he considers that his proposal needs it for a more comprehensive development.
Currently, the AMP operates and administers the port. The port provides its services in the area of Coclé and Azuero. Its main activity comprises bulk cargo and general cargo. The project has created great interest in the central provinces, particularly in the province of Coclé. Many residents feel certain that the new port will create jobs and help to strengthen the overall economy of the region.