Land purchases for US$12bn technological corridor to start on March 15

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Contracts for the purchase of land needed to develop Guatemala's US$12bn technological corridor project (CTG) will start to be signed on March 15, northeastern municipalities' association head Álvaro Olavarrueth told BNamericas.

The corridor will link ports on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

"We have already identified the 1,700 owners of the land needed for the project," Olavarrueth said, adding that by August 31 all land required for the initiative will have been purchased.

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"In addition to the land buying process, the green light will be given on July 8 for the construction of the Pacific port in Jutiapa department's Moyuta municipality," he said. In December, municipalities aim to approve the construction of the port on the Atlantic coast, in Izabal department.

The 327km corridor will run through Izabal, El Progreso, Zacapa, Chiquimula, Jalapa and Jutiapa departments. It involves a four-lane highway, a cargo rail line, and inter-oceanic oil and gas pipelines. The initiative also includes the construction of two new ports and an airport.

The project will be funded almost entirely by the private sector through concessions. "The national government is currently not participating in the project," Olavarrueth said.

The corridor is being coordinated by the Latin American business connections office (Odepal). The 44 municipalities through which the corridor will run, as well as private firms, will provide the resources to develop the initiative. The project has attracted American, Spanish, Japanese and Brazilian investors, according to Olavarrueth.

Scheduled for completion in 2015, the corridor will benefit 2mn Guatemalans and could generate up to US$350mn/y in taxes, with 32% of economic benefits going to the partner municipalities, according to previous reports.