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Thursday, 10 September 2015

Bolivia mulls $2bn Port at Tacna

Bolivia’s government has reportedly commissioned feasibility studies into the development of a proposed $2 billion megaport at Tacna on Perus seaboard.

The landlocked country has long had to rely on  neighbouring Peru and Chile for import and export of goods and natural resources but political tensions in recent months have led the government to re-explore plans for the port project.

The feasibility studies are currently being carried out by an undisclosed Chinese firm which suggests that Chinese capital may also be behind the project. The studies are focused on the potential for the port as a route for minerals exports from Bolivia's El Mutún mine.

Several proposals to develop new ports on Peru’s coast with overland transport links to Bolivia has been considered over the years but delays have meant most have failed to get off the ground.

Pressure has been mounting recently however as relations between Bolivia and Chile have worsened. Officials from Bolivia took a case against their neighbour to the World Court in the Netherlands in 2013 to demand for negotiated access to the Pacific Ocean.

Earlier this year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced plans for a proposed rail link from the Peruvian Pacific port of Ilo to  Brazil’s Port of Santos, over 3,500 km awa, that would potentially also link to Bolivia.

"We will take advantage of the meeting of presidents and cabinet ministers from Bolivia and Peru to explain to President Ollanta Humala the comparative advantages of a Brazil-Bolivia-Peru bi-coastal corridor, such as the cost and the solution of environmental problems presented by the route between Brazil and Peru," Bolivian President Evo Morales said at the time.

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