The ANI through a statement confirmed that the company interested in carrying out this project did not comply with a guarantee of seriousness in financing. Therefore, the concession of construction of the Port of Tribugá, in Chocó, which had been generating controversy in the country in recent years, was definitely ruled out.
On Tuesday, September 29, the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI) declared the withdrawal of the port concession request, which had been presented by the Sociedad Promotora Proyecto Arquímedes, because it did not comply with one of the legal procedures.
According to the ANI, the failure to comply with the requirements made to said company, which “constitutes a legal imperative to continue the project.”
In essence, the companies and entities that make up the Sociedad Promotora Arquímedes had to deliver a guarantee of seriousness, for which they presented a surety contract. However, after analyzing the legal scope of this document, they concluded that it is not valid.
With this decision, a process of more than four years is completed, which had advances and rejections on several occasions.
Consession request history
It all started in March 2016, when the company submitted the concession request to the ANI, with which it sought to build, operate, manage and exploit a deepwater multimodal port.
This was denied by the ANI on two occasions –between October and December 2017–, but the companies continued with their interest in advancing the project. For this, his legal representative requested that the Government’s resolution be revoked, which stopped the process. In April 2018, this request was resolved and the port concession process continued.
The problem came when the Sociedad Arquímedes Project Promoter had to renew the seriousness guarantee policy of the proposal for a period equal to the initial one, that is, for two more years, counted from the moment the procedure was resumed (first May 2018).
“The ANI made several requirements for the guarantee to be valid, as required by law. In its most recent response, in April 2020, the company presented as a guarantee a surety contract signed with Afiancol, which does not correspond to a valid guarantee ”, affirmed the ANI.
However, to ensure legality, it requested a legal concept from Colombia Compra Eficiencia and the Financial Superintendency, in order to determine whether or not the document was valid. Both entities confirmed that it did not work, with which the process was ruled out.
This decision gives a break to environmentalists, who asked to archive any intention to build a port in this area of Chocó, due to the harsh impact they would have on the environment.
A few weeks ago the environmentalists had submitted a request for this project not to be declared as a work of public utility, an intention that the Departmental Assembly of that department had.
Organizations such as WCS, MarViva, WWF Colombia, Clínica de Medio Ambiente y Salud Pública de la Universidad de los Andes, Expedition Tribugá and Manglares Vivos, among many others, consider that this is a completely inappropriate declaration for the territory, its communities and the country.
In his concept, the port of Tribugá would directly affect 114,438 hectares of protected areas and, therefore, the connectivity of a chain of management figures that seeks to guarantee the sustainability, conservation and preservation of the marine and coastal resources of the Pacific of Chocó.
In addition to the inconveniences that this port development would generate for marine ecosystems, native communities, and rich biodiversity, this port development is unjustified given the current underutilization and overcapacity of cargo transfer of the Buenaventura port cluster. The energy must be aimed at enhancing the means of access to the ports of Buenaventura to boost the competitiveness of Colombian export cargo.
Currently, foreign trade as an engine of development is a solution but unfortunately, it is not sustainable and in the long term it can destroy the true wealth of our Colombian Pacific.