TBY talks to Kenneth Waugh, Managing Director of APM Terminals, on strategic collaboration, managing logistics, and transoceanic trade.

Kenneth Waugh
Kenneth Waugh is a Costa Rican executive with more than 30 years of experience in the coffee and banana industries, as well as logistics in Central America. He spent more than six years as Managing Director of Volcafé of Costa Rica, the second-largest coffee trader in the world. He also has experience in the logistics market, and was Corporate Director of Grupo Mudanzas Mundiales Costa Rica. His last experience was as General Manager of Grupo Motores Británicos. He has a bachelor’s in business administration and finance and an MBA from INCAE with an emphasis on banking and finance. He is currently president of the British Chamber of Commerce of Costa Rica.

What were the most important milestones for the company in Costa Rica during 2016?

It was important to see the start of a project that will have such an impact on the country, the Moín Container Terminal Project, which will improve the economic development of Costa Rica. This is a year that has been marked by important milestones, one being the successful start of this construction. Another milestone was the signature of the USD110 million contract for the purchase of all the lifting equipment that is going to be installed.

How did the company win the contract and what will it entail?

Moin will not be the largest container terminal in Latin America, but it will strive to be the most efficient one, a standard in safety and security to look up to, and in harmony with the environment. It will represent a major change of current paradigms because of its efficiency in servicing and deeper draft. It will be able to attract the exact same transoceanic vessels that go through the Panama Canal, thus connecting for the first time Costa Rica to this first tier shipping network. This will be a big game changer. The concession invited to an open bid all interested parties, and APM Terminals won by proving to be the best partner for the government to develop a specialized container terminal with. This is the first time in Latin America that a port of this level of specialization is being built on an artificial island. We are going to have 650m of quay, a draft of 14.5m, and six STS cranes in the beginning. That will allow us to dock vessels of up to three and a half times the size of the biggest vessel that actually docks in any port in Costa Rica. By the end of the third stage, we will have 1.6km of quay, and more than 85ha of container yard to be able to handle all of the cargo, and workshops that will support the logistics.

Infrastructure remains a major challenge in Costa Rica. How are projects like the improvements to Routes 32 and 4 progressing?

The government recently approved the new concession contract for the construction of Route 32, which is an important step. The winners of the bid that was selected to take over this concession will spend seven to eight months in the design stage, and then approximately three years in building the expansion. Even though we would like to have Route 32 tomorrow, we understand that it is also a major construction project and the involved parties will take their time.

What are your priorities for 2017?

Our priority is to complete the building of the terminal, and ensure that we have trained personnel to start operations immediately. We will continue with our involvement in the betterment of the community through our CSR programs, improving schools in the area, as well as coordination with Police and Public Authorities to work on public safety. Achieving this is not always simple. There are many points of view, so the priority is to reach a consensus on an agenda, regardless of political colors or personal interest. This is necessary to be able to push through those three or four items that will move us forward. We are on time, and 2017 is going to be the year of challenges.