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Construction of state-of-the-art container terminal in Moín completed

  • 6.5 million cubic metres of sand
  • 40 hectares land reclamation
  • 1.8 million tonnes of rock
  • 2,200 metres long breakwater

To maintain and strengthen Costa Rica’s position as an economic leader, the country’s government has awarded APM Terminals a contract for a new container terminal in Moín. In cooperation with the Van Oord – BAM International consortium, a world-class, high-productivity, and environmentally sustainable container terminal was constructed in one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful coastal areas. With specialised technical knowledge, the consortium met the challenges presented by, for example, varying soil and sea conditions and strict construction requirements relating to seismic activity.

We are proud that the country has trusted APM Terminals with the mission of developing and operating this amazing port. A concession that also brings socioeconomic opportunities to the community, the country and the region.

Kenneth Waugh, Managing Director at APM Terminals Costa Rica
Kenneth Waugh, Managing Director at APM Terminals Costa Rica

Pushing the limits

In 2015 side stone dumping vessel HAM 601 began with the construction of the 2,200 metres long breakwater. Trailing suction hopper dredger Volvox Atalanta also started immediately in order to get the 6.5 million cubic metres of sand which was needed for the land reclamation. In addition, Van Oord deployed cutter suction dredger Castor to remove stiff clay and to recycle the material that ended up outside the projected boundaries of the terminal area. Because it involved so many of these interdependencies between project phases and their associated activities, the Moín container terminal project was a good example of a complex project. Project Director Hans van Meeuwen explains: ‘From dredging to the construction of a breakwater and ground improvement works. It all happened simultaneously and in close proximity.’

Our client APM Terminals now has the largest transhipment terminal in Latin America. The terminal will play an important role in Costa Rica's banana and pineapple export business. Construction of the Moín Container Terminal in the Caribbean Sea was a real technical feat.

Mark Roelofs, Area Director America & Africa at Van Oord
Mark Roelofs, Area Director America & Africa at Van Oord

Environmental care

When managing a project site in a vulnerable environment like this, a lot needs to be taken into account. ‘Because no matter how fast we needed to carry out the construction works, we didn’t want to have an adverse impact on the environment and cause damage to nature, marine life, wildlife, etc.,’ states Project Director Hans van Meeuwen. ‘Turtles use this area as a nesting area, so we ensured that - despite our presence - they still felt welcome to lay their eggs. To achieve this, we carefully selected the colour, intensity and the direction of the construction lights.’ He continues: ‘To protect the eggs from illegal hunting, we collected and transfered them to a secure hatching area we had set up. When the eggs hatched, the baby turtles were taken back to the beach, where they started their journey to the ocean.’ Each turtle nesting season, around 10,000 turtles were born and released.
Interested in a personal story of Van Oord's Engineering & Environmental Manager? Read Anneke Hibma's testimonal.

Local benefits

Besides sustainability, improving the local economy was a key driver of the project, both during execution and after completion. Project Director Hans van Meeuwen explains: ‘To encourage this, we bought as many local products as possible: from food for the canteen to construction materials such as rock, cement, and steel reinforcement. If possible and available, we hired local employees and we improved their employability through on-the-job training in construction work and health and safety standards.’ By completing this kind of future-changing project, export nations like Costa Rica – and their inhabitants – will be ready to take their place in the future world economy.   

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Additional information
  • Start date
    January 2015
  • End date
    February 2019
  • Location
    Moín, Costa Rica
  • Business Unit
    Dredging
  • Client
    APM Terminals