Puerto Rico issues RFP for port P3

Puerto Rico expects to commercialise and further expand the port through private investment.

The Port of Ponce Authority (PPA) in Puerto Rico has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the partial privatisation of the Port of the Americas in the municipality of Ponce, according to a statement.

The RFP solicits proposals regarding a public-private partnership (PPP; P3) for the port, and a management contract or concession agreement through a short- or long-term lease agreement may be used to implement the proposed P3 framework, it said.

The P3 framework is premised on the completion of some new facilities at the port. By procuring an experienced and highly-qualified private international operator, the government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico expects to commercialise this public infrastructure and further promote the expansion of the port through private investment.

New facilities have already been built through an investment of $285 million, including a modern berth with 50-foot depth, two Super Post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes, and a new container yard with a capacity of up to 500,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) per year.

The Port of Ponce Authority wants to bring in the selected operator for a short-term expansion at the port. The private operator will be involved in the reconstruction of Berths 2 and 3, according to the RFP.

“These old berths’ structural condition does not allow for additional dredging to accommodate deeper draft vessels, and limits the dredging of one end of the new berth built as part of Phase 1. PPA is considering the reconstruction of these berths by realigning them with the new Berths 4, 5, and 6,” the RFP said.

The reconstruction project is expected to require an estimated investment of $70 million, it said.

If necessary, the PPA is willing to participate in the proposed investment, it added.

The Port of the Americas Rafael “Churumba” Cordero Santiago is a strategic economic development project for Puerto Rico, focusing on the development of a trans-shipment facility with added value research and development, and manufacturing applications to be established around it.

The port project comprises over 300 acres of government-controlled land, which is occupied by the existing port and future development areas.