Costa Rica opens new container port on Caribbean coast

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Costa Rica on Thursday opened a major new container port on an island built off its Caribbean coast that could deliver a major boost to trade in the Central American country and increase competition for the Panama Canal.

Due to be operated under a 30-year concession by its builder, A.P. Moller-Maersk unit APM Terminals, the Moin container project in Limon province is part of a $1 billion investment 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the Panama Canal.

The port will allow “Post Panamax” vessels to berth, ships that can load up to 8,000 containers, three times the amount the state port service has so far been able to handle.

Its electric cranes should cut the average time needed to service a ship to 15 hours from 40 hours, APM Terminals Chief Executive Morten Engelstoft said at the inauguration.

Reporting by Alvaro Murillo; Editing by Sandra Maler