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Chilean port operator to start US$600mn arbitration against Uruguay

Posted on January 30, 2024

Chilean port operator Neltume Ports is initiating a US$600mn arbitration process against Uruguay within three months due to the country’s decision to extend Belgium’s Katoen Natie concession for Montevideo’s specialized container port terminal (TCP) until 2081 and give it priority for the reception of container ships.

Neltume Ports, the main shareholder of Montecon, which operates Montevideo’s public port areas, alleges that the 2021 decision benefiting TCP violates a bilateral investment protection treaty, daily El Observador reported, citing sources from Uruguay’s transport ministry (MTOP).

The concession extension also entails US$445mn for terminal investments and was part of an agreement under which Katoen Natie withdrew a US$1.5bn lawsuit against Uruguay related to Montecon’s operations in the port.

Works on lot 3 of Paraguay’s route PY09, also dubbed Transchaco highway, are expected to wrap up by early March, the public works ministry (MOPC) said in a press release.

The section involves 77km between Nanawa crossing and the city of General Bruguez (Presidente Hayes department), as well as the access to the city.

Works that are ongoing include an 80m bridge across the Montelindo river.

Last year, 271km of the 558km Transchaco route had been renovated.

Lot 3 is being executed by Consorcio Avanza Chaco (ConstruparTecnoedilOcho A), whose contract was awarded in 2020 for 593bn guaraníes (US$81.1mn).

Neuquén governor Rolando Figueroa is negotiating with Argentina’s central government and multilateral institutions to secure resources for public works, as federal funds are being drastically reduced.

So far, the province has secured federal funding for La Rinconada bridge, which was being built by national highway authority Vialidad Nacional for 1.4bn pesos (US$1.69mn at current exchange rate), according to a provincial press release.

The local administration is also in talks with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Latin American development bank CAF, where Figueroa presented “a very ambicious plan.”


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