According to Marhnos, the Escuintla-Puerto Quetzal highway will be ready to operate within 18 months

The award corresponded to the Convía consortium, to which the company Marhnos Guatemala belongs and its president in the country, Sandro Testelli, answered an interview from Free Press.

What is the position of the company for the approval of the APP?

It is a reaction of great optimism, for which it implies the reactivation of the Escuintla to Puerto Quetzal highway: it is a spearhead to detonate projects and infrastructure that, from the public sphere, is very difficult to carry out due to the capacity required for the execution, financing, operation and service. So, we believe that with this tool Guatemala radically changes the way of building infrastructure and modifies the signal for investors that long-term projects can be done.

What is the next step?

There is an administrative scope on the part of the Legislative Organism, and there will be peremptory times to be able to have the notary’s office and the issuance of the contract, which may take a few weeks.

After that -60 days- we are responsible for achieving different service and operation indicators that we have to integrate into the project; In those two months, the entire business infrastructure will be generated, as well as the definition of studies in conjunction with the Ministry of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing (CIV), to process the configurations of the work.

When could construction start?

We anticipate that for the first quarter of 2022, which will depend on those technical tables that are being defined with the CIV. In March we could be, “breaking stone” as we say.

What are the investment data?

They are around Q960 million, (which is about US $ 125 million) and we will execute the entire development of the work in approximately 18 months.

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How will the work be financed?

This type of investment has two important components: one is capital (30% of the value of the project) and the other 70% of the value of the work will come from local banking groups that are interested in participating.

How much will the toll cost?

Q15 for light vehicle, which is up to 70% of the traffic on the highway.

Sandro Testelli, country director of Marhnos Guatemala, (Free Press Photo: Urías Gamarro)

Some people object. What do you say about it?

That -this project- be seen as a tool of the Government of Guatemala, which is now being implemented, and it is the first exercise. There will be many economic benefits in the area and also, the properties of all the Escuintlecos will be revalued.

On the other hand, there will be a very important demand for additional services in the area, which will generate the hiring of 1,700 direct jobs for the work. And logistics companies, hotels, restaurant firms have already looked for us and there will be a need to cover all those options.

On the other hand, there is no need to be oblivious to the canon, since each highway crossing will be an income for the communities. The more vehicles that pass, the more income they will receive, as part of the return of the canon.

Another important point is that they will have free passage, since, according to the approved law, the communities are 100% condoned, derived from the consensus between the Executive and Legislative. It must be seen as a great incentive for the economic recovery of the area.

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Neighbor positions

Mario García, president of the Cocode de colonia ferrocarrilera, Escuintla

“When the project was presented, we were clear that we are not opposed to development, but that things must be done correctly. There is talk of a peripheral ring in Escuintla so that the area is not affected and that was not taken into account, nor was the construction of two overpasses.

Romeo Suárez, manager of the Chamber of Commerce, Escuintla subsidiary

“This highway is vital for commerce; business transport is the one that will use it the most and they have the possibility of paying the toll, since it means a reduction in travel time. Now we have to keep the dialogue table open and look for solutions. Do not confront because it has already been authorized ”.

Leonel Díaz, a resident of Escuintla

“The Government has the money to build not only this highway, but many. We don’t want foreign companies to come because they are going to charge us for the pass ”.

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