Grupo Romero starts work on Salaverry port expansion

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Grupo Romero, the Peruvian conglomerate that won a US$229mn contract to upgrade the port of Salaverry in May, has now started work on the project, which is designed to boost mineral, hydrocarbon and agricultural cargo on the northern coast.

Consorcio Transportadora Salaverry, controlled by Grupo Romero's Tramarsa unit, began dredging the access canal and harbor, consortium manager Diego Cassinelli said. Dredging work will be take place 24 hours a day for nine weeks to reach an average depth of 12.5m, he said.

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The port in La Libertad region is subject to heavy sedimentation that has led to constant closures and prevented larger ships from docking, according to Cassinelli. Dredging will enable 40,000t Panamax ships to dock at Salaverry, according to Tramarsa, which plans to invest US$50mn in upgrades to the piers, a breakwater and dredging during the first year.

"It's of great interest to us to have the port in condition to operate safely and efficiently as soon as possible," Cassinelli told state news agency Andina. "This first dredging will enable us to maintain depths at proper levels for two years."

Salaverry is part of a drive by the Peruvian government to drum up private investment in ports including Pisco, Ilo and San Juan de Marcona.

Salaverry port, which moves 150,000t/y of minerals from Gold Fields' Corona gold-copper mine, and 15,000 containers, will aim to handle more minerals, agro-exports, fish, grains and containers for other products.

TAX SWAPS

In other infrastructure news, private firms inaugurated tax swap projects totaling 23mn soles (US$7mn) in investment, state investment promotion agency Proinversión said.

Spain's Telefónica finished a 16mn-sol emergency response center in Ica region, the agency said in a statement. Ica, located on the south coast, was devastated first by flooding caused by the 1998 El Niño phenomenon and then by a powerful earthquake in 2007.

Peruvian soft drink bottler AjeGroup also inaugurated a 1mn-sol street and sidewalk paving project, the first project in Ayacucho region under the obras por impuestos system. Meanwhile, Scotiabank's Profuturo AFP pension fund, completed a 6mn-sol old people's home in Callao.

Meanwhile, President Martín Vizcarra, who has sought to accelerate infrastructure investment since taking office in March, met in Lima with soon-to-be regional presidents to coordinate public works in Peru's provinces.

Peru elected the heads of 25 regional governments and thousands of local mayors in regional and municipal elections in October. The officials are scheduled to begin their four-year mandates on January 1.

President Vizcarra, who has transferred over 10bn soles to regional and local governments this year to finance 5,683 infrastructure projects, has expressed concern that the changeover of local authorities will slow public spending in 2019.

"This is a tough task. Let's not waste time – four years fly by," Vizcarra said in a statement. "We're providing support so that you have a successful mandate."