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Medellin-based Healtix Home IPS and Bogota-based WTA Latam IPS jointly announced January 29 the start-up of Covid-19 testing services at Medellin’s José María Córdova (JMC) international airport in Rionegro.

“From today, our airport will have a laboratory to carry out Covid-19 detection tests,” according to a bulletin from JMC. “This service will be provided by WTA Latam IPS and Healtix Home IPS.”

All international passengers arriving to or leaving from Colombia are now required to pass a Covid-19 test within 96 hours of flights to-or-from most destinations including North America, Europe and much of Latin America.

Many nations (including Colombia) currently accept either the relatively rapid-result (but less accurate) antigen test (results in 20 to 40 minutes) or else the more-accurate but lengthier PCR test (24 to 36 hours for results). Passengers unable to get a Covid-19 test before boarding a flight to Colombia must get this test upon arrival and face quarantine as well.

The antigen test here at JMC is priced at COP$80,000 (US$22) while the PCR test costs COP$230,000 (US$64.50), according to the companies involved.

Colombia’s medical-services regulator Invima has certified both of these tests, according to JMC.


Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced last night (January 29) that the first 337,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine will be administered starting February 20.

Thanks to recent purchase deals, “Colombia has secured the 35 million vaccines necessary to immunize 70% of its population against Covid-19, with which we will achieve herd immunity,” according to the Ministry.

“We have managed to buy 20 million doses for 10 million Colombians through Covax, and through bilateral [purchase] mechanisms another 41.5 million doses for 25.25 million people. In this way we reached 61.5 million doses for 35.25 million people to be vaccinated,” Minister Ruiz revealed.

Total government spending for vaccine acquisition now totals COP$2 trillion (US$560 million), he aded.

The “National Vaccination Plan” (PNV in Spanish initials) now includes the following vaccines:

Pfizer: 10 million doses purchased for 5 million people (two shots per person), using the “messenger RNA” chemistry. “This vaccine differs from the traditional ones because it does not incorporate live or attenuated virus agents, or fragments of it,” explained Ruiz.

AstraZeneca: 10 million doses for 5 million people, similarly a “non-replicating viral vector vaccine that must be applied in two doses.”

Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): 9 million doses for 9 million people, as a “single-dose vaccine that is easy to take to dispersed areas” since it doesn’t require ultra-cold refrigeration.

Moderna: 10 million doses for 5 million people, “a new technology vaccine also of messenger RNA that requires deep freezing,” he said.

Sinovac: 2.5 million doses for 1.25 million people. “It is an inactivated, two-dose vaccine that can be stored in standard refrigeration at 2°C to 8°C,” according to the Ministry.

All these vaccines “have shown efficacy, all exceed the minimum standard required by the WHO [World Health Organization] for vaccination processes and allow us a diverse portfolio of maneuverability in the event of any eventuality,” Ruiz said.

Updated Vaccination Rollout Schedule

Thanks to the recent acquisitions and updated delivery schedules, the following dose schedule is now foreseen starting February 20, 2021:

February: 337,000 doses
March: 3,333,764
April: 4,663,843
May: 3,939,843
June: 7,553,450
July: 8,294,941
August: 11,258,941
September: 5,642,941
October: 6,260,116
November: 4,934,352
December: 3,166,666

As a result, “Colombia has the possibility of completing 100% of targeted vaccinations in 2021,” rather than an earlier estimate of 2022, he said. “Bear in mind that 35 million people represent almost the entire population over 16 years of age in Colombia,” he added.

“This is the opportunity for the country to unite, regardless of any divergence, towards a safe and effective vaccination process, because that is the basis for our country’s ability to turn the page on Covid-19” -- enabling both public health improvement as well as fuller economic recovery, he concluded.


The latest Invamer poll of voting-age residents here (see: https://www.scribd.com/document/492368867/Informe-INVAMER-Poll-140#from_embed\) finds that Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero’s favorability rating has plunged from 84% at the start of his term in 2020 to just 55% today, with unfavorability rising to 42%, from just 12% initially.

What’s more, 56% of Medellin residents now say that their situation is getting worse under Mayor Quintero, while only 34% see their situation improving, the poll shows.

According to Invamer, the January 2021 telephone/cell-phone survey of 1,200 voting-age residents nationally has a 95% confidence margin.

While Quintero had won admiration for some management initiatives during the initial stages of the Covid-19 crisis last year, subsequent economic and social problems arising from Covid-19 shutdowns, along with mishandling of EPM’s prior board of directors -- tied to his potentially catastrophic decision to sue the construction contractors at EPM’s “Hidroituango” hydroelectric project -- have damaged his public image.

The relatively weak favorability ranking for Quintero today contrasts sharply with that of his immediate predecessor, Federico Gutiérrez, whose favorability rankings during his four-year term hovered between 80% to 84% and unfavorability never rose above 18%, the Invamer poll shows.

One possible reason: Gutierrez, unlike Quintero, never stooped to attacking Medellin’s popular business sector with unproven, Trump-like allegations including baseless conspiracy theories claiming that Grupo Empresarial Antioqueño (GEA) essentially resembled a “deep state” supposedly looting city-owned EPM, Medellin’s single-biggest financial supporter.

No such wild allegations have been brought or proven in court -- and dozens of local and national business trade associations, civic groups and trade unions have since publicly denounced these Quintero claims as shameful and unfounded.

Other notable findings from the latest Invamer poll:

1. While Colombia President Ivan Duque has seen his popularity fall because of the economic and social fallout from the Covid-19 crisis, Duque has gained praise -- compared to his predecessors -- for rapid advancement in Colombia’s crucial highway construction projects, expanded access to health services and accelerated construction of subsidized housing for low-income populations, even in the face of the Covid crisis, the poll shows.

2. Antioquia Governor Anibal Gaviria has seen his favorability ranking improve from 58% at start of his term last year to 67% currently -- even despite facing new allegations of “corruption” tied to an obscure bridge-building contract 16 years ago, during Gaviria’s first term as Governor.

3. Perennial left-wing demagogue, former guerrilla and presidential pretender Senator Gustavo Petro continues to have a poor public image nationally, at 55% unfavorable versus 35% favorable.

4. Colombia’s Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez has a relatively weak 31% favorable ranking and 39% unfavorable.

5. Former Colombia Vice President German Vargas Lleras, another possible presidential contender, has a 50% unfavorable ranking and just 30% favorable nationally.

6. Left-wing presidential hopeful Senator Jorge Robledo has a 24% unfavorable ranking with just 21% favorable.

7. Centro Democratico posible presidential candidate Senator Paloma Valencia has a 29% unfavorable ranking and just 16% favorable.

8. Possible presidential candidate Senator Roy Barreras – a fiery critic of former President Alvaro Uribe -- has a 42% unfavorable ranking and only 12% favorable.

9. Possible Centro Democratico presidential candidate Rafael Nieto has a 10% favorable ranking and 10% unfavorable, with most having no opinion.

10. U.S. President Joe Biden enjoys a 60% favorable ranking among Colombian voters, with only 11% unfavorable.

11. Colombia’s business class has a 47% favorable ranking nationally, with 44% unfavorable.

12. Colombia’s mainstream news media currently has a 53% unfavorable ranking with 43% favorable. But during former President Alvaro Uribe’s second term – coincident with Uribe’s full-scale war against the narco-communist FARC terrorists -- the mainstream media enjoyed an 80% favorable ranking, reflecting the Colombian population’s absolute disgust with the FARC and its overwhelming approval for Uribe’s war on narco-terrorism.

13. The special “peace” court (JEP, Jurisdiction Especial para la Paz) that has generally granted immunity to FARC terrorists has a 50% unfavorability ranking, but 42% nevertheless are "favorable," willing to accept such immunity for the sake of a tenuous “peace.”

14. Colombia’s Supreme Court -- which has consistently ruled against former President Uribe in legal disputes and has been involved in numerous corruption scandals -- has a 65% unfavorable ranking, with 28% favorable.

15. Colombia’s Congress has a 78% unfavorable ranking, with 16% favorable.

16. Despite having signed a “peace” deal, the FARC still has an 85% unfavorable ranking, while the similar ELN narco-communist group has a 92% unfavorable ranking. Another 65% in the poll agree that the FARC is NOT complying with terms of the “peace” deal.

17. A notable 60% of Colombians continue to favor foreign investment and multinationals here, with only 37% unfavorable. Similarly, 60% favor free-trade agreements, while 35% oppose.

18. As for the idea of legalizing dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin in Colombia, 73% are against, with 25% in favor.

19. Asked about getting a Covid-19 vaccination whenever it becomes available here, 58% said they would, while 39% said no.


Colombia’s mostly state-owned Ecopetrol oil company announced January 27 that it’s making a bid worth an estimated US$3.8 billion for the Colombian government’s existing 51% share stake in Medellin-based multinational electric power transmission giant ISA.

The bid, if successful, would help boost Colombia’s government finances because Ecopetrol soon would sell more of its stock -- along with “non-strategic” assets -- to pay for the government’s 51% share of ISA.

Bottom line: the proposed deal would take money from private investors and transfer it into Colombia’s Treasury Ministry -- helping to reduce billions of dollars of new debt arising from massive government subsidies to help citizens and companies overcome huge losses from the Covid-19 crisis.

ISA would still remain 51% government-owned, but the government stake in Ecopetrol would be diluted to around 80%, from nearly 90% currently.

The deal simultaneously would help Ecopetrol prepare for the world-wide transition away from fossil hydrocarbons and reposition it to supply more “green” electric power along with non-polluting electric vehicles. Ecopetrol is already building new solar-power production farms here in Antioquia and elsewhere in Colombia.

“The investment in ISA would represent a transformational step for Ecopetrol in its energy transition and decarbonization path,” according to Ecopetrol’s press statement.

“Ecopetrol would be strengthened with world-class energy infrastructure assets that would generate a material stream of income in low-emission businesses.

“ISA is a leader in the continent with significant positions in the transmission of electricity in Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Peru, among other countries. It stands out for its outstanding financial and operating results, and a robust growth plan that Ecopetrol would maintain.

“The [combined] operation would contribute to the economic reactivation of the country and would represent an opportunity for shareholders by having a unique energy conglomerate in America, with greater capacity to generate value from the complementarity of its businesses and geographic presence.

“The resilience of [Ecopetrol] Group would be strengthened by having a greater portion of stable and predictable income in the long term, while reducing exposure to oil price volatility. The nation would maintain control of both companies through the participation of at least 80% in Ecopetrol.

“The transaction would be financed with a scheme that includes a new capitalization of Ecopetrol through the issuance of shares, equity and other available financing schemes, including the divestment of non-strategic assets. The financial structuring of the operation would maintain a level of Ecopetrol indebtedness aligned with its investment grade.

“The transaction would be carried out through an inter-administrative contract between Ecopetrol and the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. To make this investment, it is not necessary to make a Public Acquisition Offer (OPA) to ISA shareholders, to the extent that the nation would continue to be the real beneficiary of ISA’s shares and would maintain ultimate control over them.

“If an agreement is reached between the parties (Ministry of Finance and Public Credit and Ecopetrol), the closing of this transaction will be subject to the performance of a detailed due diligence, as well as the issuance and placement of shares by Ecopetrol, prior obtaining the required authorizations,” the company added.

While Ecopetrol potentially could have the upper hand in the proposed deal, other potential buyers include Bogota's GEB power company.


The long-awaited “doble calzada oriente” (DCO) four-lane divided highway between Medellin's "Las Palmas" eastern highway and the Jose Maria Cordova (JMC) international airport just won a final approval from the Antioquia departmental government.

As a result, construction on the COP$926 billion (US$265 million), 13.7-kilometers-long project will start this year, project leader Constructora Conconcreto announced last night (January 19).

Construction time is estimated at 36 months, meaning the highway would open for traffic by 2023 or 2024.

The entire project will be privately funded, rather than tapping any government funds. Toll booths will enable developers to recoup the investment over the coming decades.

The highway will spur further development in the booming “Oriente” (east of Medellin) region including Rionegro and portions of Envigado.

The new DCO highway will connect with the existing Las Palmas four-lane divided highway eastward from Medellin near the “Sancho Paisa” roundabout, passing through the outlying El Tablazo neighborhood of Rionegro and connecting onward with the existing highway bordering JMC airport into central Rionegro.

Partners in the project include Constructora Conconcreto, Castro Tcherassi and Procopal.

On the new highway, “estimated travel time between the Sancho Paisa roundabout and the José María Córdova Airport in Rionegro will be 12 minutes, with an average speed of 80 kilometers per hour,” according to Conconcreto.


Antioquia Governor Anibal Gaviria announced last night (January 19) that “pico y cedula” shopping restrictions will hit the entire Medellin metro area (including “Oriente”) starting the first minute of Thursday, January 21, until midnight Tuesday, January 26.

In addition, curfews will be imposed from 10 pm today (Wednesday) until 5 am daily through January 26.

As a result, people with cedulas ending in even numbers can go shopping on even-numbered days (including today, Wednesday January 20), while odd-numbered cedulas are green-lighted for shopping on odd-numbered days.

Restaurants and hotels are exempted from pico-y-cedula, as well as essential workers, home-delivery workers and emergency situations.

The mandates hit Medellin and the other nine municipalities in Valle de Aburra, as well as the Oriente (east of Medellin) cities of Rionegro, Marinilla, El Santuario, Guarne, El Carmen de Viboral, El Retiro and La Ceja, according to Governor Gaviria.

This latest extension of pico-y-cedula and curfew regulations are the result of the continuing surge in Covid-19 infections and a dangerously high 91.5% occupancy of intensive care units (ICUs) in local hospitals, he said.

However, “we are beginning to perceive a stabilization [in Covid-19 hospitalizations] that we hope will be maintained -- and we can hope for a little-by-little decline,” Gaviria added.


Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced last night (January 14) that another 71,473 vaccination specialists soon will join the existing 7,000 nationally qualified Covid-19 vaccinators via a new training program that starts today.

The “Management of Vaccination Against Covid-19 in Colombia” course now underway with Colombia's SENA training institute includes more than 42,000 nursing assistants, 13,000 registered nurses, 6,800 doctors, 3,500 dentists, 3,500 public health workers and 2,200 bacteriologists.

Of the 71,473 new trainees, Antioquia accounts for 8,637, according to the Ministry.

Course materials cover basic information on Covid-19 infection, technical and operational guidelines for vaccination, preserving the ultra-cold-temperature-storage chain, an “open bottle policy”on how to handle vials of vaccines, patient monitoring and data-information systems for correct registration of those receiving vaccines.

By end-January, yet another batch of trainees will enter the national program. For that upcoming session, “we will be inviting other professional health workers with a whole contingent that is working with us throughout the year, and with the territorial entities, the EPS [health insurance networks] and IPS [hospitals and clinics], in vaccination programs,” Ruiz added.


Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz revealed last night (January 12) that the first 850,000 people here to get Covid-19 vaccinations will get their shots in February.  Assuming compliance with projected delivery and distribution schedules, the tentative vaccination plan includes:

February: 850,000 people vaccinated.
March: 3,862,900.
April: 1,800,000.
May: 7,968,900.
June: 3,360,000.
July: 8,431,567.
August: 6,382,667.
September: 3,779,567.
October: 7,212,900.
November: 3,212,900.
December: 2,097,011.

The COP$1.5 trillion (US$432 million) budgeted on vaccinations so far include Pfizer vaccines -- soon arriving here -- while Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines are scheduled to arrive between April and May 2021, Ruiz said.

The initial plan would vaccinate the 34 million most-vulnerable Colombians, with contracts for 29 million immunizations “already guaranteed,” Ruiz said.

Under the “Covax” multinational vaccine-purchase program, Colombia already has 20 million doses guaranteed (two per person required), hence this program will cover 10 million inhabitants.

“An agreement has been established with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer for 10 million doses, which will be destined for 5 million people, as well as with the pharmaceutical company Janssen, a single dose, for 9 million people, and with AstraZeneca with 10 million doses for 5 million Colombians,” according to the Ministry.

“Distribution mechanisms are being established with Pfizer. It is projected that vaccinations will begin with the prioritized populations in February,” then more doses through the Covax program will continue in March, Ruiz said.

“Probably May, June and July will be the months where we have the greatest amount of vaccinations. Those from Janssen and AstraZeneca would be arriving in the country from April or May 2020,” he added.

Meanwhile, the national government “has established talks with other pharmaceutical companies, whose vaccine developments are expected to be approved by international authorities for emergency use in the coming weeks. Surely, these would be applied for the second half of this year,” he said.

Colombia today has about 3,000 vaccination points and 7,000 vaccinators, "but we must grow in that capacity, for that reason the training course ‘Management of Vaccination Against Covid-19 in Colombia’ was developed with [Colombia’s national training institute] SENA, with which we seek to support the territories throughout the vaccinator training process," Ruiz said.

Doctors, nurses, dentists, bacteriologists, nursing and public health assistants or technicians will be able to access the training course, he added.

Ultra-Cold Storage Capacity Grows

On a related front, Gerson Bermont, director of prevention at the Ministry of Health, revealed that Colombia now has two special large-capacity warehouses in Bogota for initial receipt of “up to 40 million vaccines at a single moment” while nationwide, "Colombia has 37 collection centers for the storage and conservation of vaccines."

“The first vaccines to arrive in Colombia require deep freezing and from this moment there are eight [ultra-cold freezer] distribution points in Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Cartagena and Pereira,” he said.

“At the national level, we have 2,975 vaccination points equipped with cold equipment certified by the World Health Organization (WHO,” Bermont added.

CDC Mandates Covid-19 Tests International Arrivals

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced yesterday that starting January 26, all international airline passengers must show proof of having passed a Covid-19 infection test within 96 hours of boarding a flight to the USA from Colombia (or from anywhere else). As a result, the USA joins Colombia and  some100 other nations mandating Covid-19 infection tests and/or quarantines for all international passengers.

“With the U.S. already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the [North] American public,” according to CDC.

“Before departure to the United States, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again three-to-five days after arrival and stay home for seven days post-travel, will help slow the spread of Covid-19 within U.S. communities from travel-related infections,” according to CDC.

“Air passengers are required to get a viral test [either PCR or antigen] within the three days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from Covid-19.

“Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, [then] the airline must deny boarding to the passenger,” the agency added.


Medellin-based electric power giant EPM announced this morning (January 13) that it has petitioned an Antioquia Administrative Court in Medellin to assume jurisdiction over its COP$9.9 trillion (US$2.85 billion) lawsuit against Hidroituango construction contractors.

The petition to the Court follows the failure last week of a “conciliation” procedure that had been supervised by Colombia’s Solicitor-General.

EPM now simultaneously asks the Medellin Chamber of Commerce to assume arbitration of its related COP$5.5 trillion (US$1.58 billion) claim against insurer Mapfre for its supposed coverage of losses arising from a diversion-tunnel collapse at the Hidroituango hydroelectric project in 2018.

The petition to move the main damages claim against Hidroituango contractors to an Antioquia Administrative Court now faces a venue fight, as the contractors have instead petitioned for an international tribunal to settle the dispute. Rationale: One of the three main construction contractors isn’t Colombian, but is instead Brazil-based Camargo Correa Infra. The other two are Colombian companies Conconcreto and Coninsa-Ramón H.

EPM asserts that it initially moved to bring a “conciliation” suit against the contractors last year because of a supposed two-year legal deadline to bring claims following the April 28, 2018 diversion-tunnel collapse.

This EPM argument is disputed by former Colombia Supreme Court Justice Javier Tamayo Jaramillo, now head of the Medellin law firm of Tamayo Jaramillo & Associates.

In a legal analysis submitted by Tamayo to the “Todos Por Medellin” civic group last month, Tamayo explains that the actual legal deadline for filing such a damages claim instead would come within two years following the expiration of the construction contract, not the two years following the tunnel collapse incident.

“There is almost absolute doctrinal and jurisprudential unanimity in that the expiration date of this type of actions is counted from the settlement of the respective contract, which, to date, has not occurred,” Tamayo states in his legal opinion.

“What was the desire to file a lawsuit against so many defendants without having sufficient proof of their responsibility or even knowing the intensity of the damages or the value of them? Was it a matter of causing a media impact to create the feeling that the previous [EPM] administration was going to let EPM’s actions against those responsible for [the tunnel collapse] expire?”

The new EPM lawsuit claims that the construction contractors as well as insurers Suramericana, Chubb Seguros and Mapfre now must answer its claims in court or else in arbitration.

While Mapfre “has recognized the coverage of the [tunnel-collapse] event and has ratified it in the framework of the conciliation hearings, we are still working on the determination of the compensable amounts in the insurance [policy] conditions, based on the fact that this claim is the largest worldwide in terms of All Risks Construction and Assemblies, and is therefore subject to study and review throughout the insurance market,” according to EPM.

“It is for this reason, and no other, that it was not possible to arrive at a figure that would allow us to satisfactorily terminate the preliminary ruling conciliation process. Mapfre confirmed that its main interest is to cover all compensable losses, in accordance with the insurance conditions.

“Based on the foregoing, the EPM Group ratifies its commitment to advance in the technical adjustment process until compensation for losses is achieved within the framework of the insurance contract signed with the Mapfre company.”

Meanwhile, “in both judicial scenarios, conciliation exercises are contemplated, which offer us a new opportunity to seek a comprehensive solution to the differences derived from the contingency,” according to EPM.

Contractors Dispute Claims

According to the “CCC Ituango Consortium” of Hidroituango construction contractors, they now seek international arbitration and will file counter-claims against EPM.

“The consortium reiterates its interest in demonstrating that in the execution of the civil works under its charge, it has not only acted in good faith but diligently and in accordance with good engineering practices, complying with the designs and instructions provided by Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM),” according to CCC Ituango’s official press bulletin, reacting to the “conciliation” failure.

“Having extended the contract at the end of December [2020] by EPM, the consortium will continue executing the work in the same way as it has always done: complying with its contractual obligations, maintaining adequate quality standards and meeting technical requirements. and designs supplied by EPM itself.

“The consortium remains firm in its commitment to take Hidroituango forward, understanding that this requires collaborative work with the other contractors of the project, but above all, having the adequate coordination of EPM so that the objectives of the project are met.

“The CCC Ituango Consortium is led by Camargo Correa Infra and as a [Brazilian] foreign partner we will submit the [lawsuit demand] differences to an international court, where technical and legal arguments prevail to make clear the actions of the consortium in the [diversion-tunnel collapse] contingency of April 2018.

“At the same time, we are forced to seek to compensate the reputational and economic impact that this unique claim has been causing for the Consortium,” the bulletin concludes.

EPM Trade Union Slams Lawsuit Decision

Meanwhile, Sinpro – EPM’s biggest employee trade union – likewise slammed EPM’s failure to settle the claims under friendly “conciliation” terms.

“We have indicated since September [2020] that EPM’s claim of COP$9.9 trillion from the contractors represents great risks for the company’s finances and for the development of Medellin and Antioquia, as there could be a possible counterclaim from the contractors with possible consequences in the qualifications of [Wall Street bond-rating] risk qualifiers and the possible loss of part of the [Mapfre] insurance coverage, without taking into account what it implies for the contractors.

“These are the risks that the Mayor of Medellin, the [recently installed] Board of Directors of EPM and the [recently named] general manager of EPM are now bringing upon the company in a new display of folly where it is evident that personal and political interests prevail over legal interests and of the community,” Sinpro warned.

The Sinpro charge alludes to Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero’s bypassing of the prior EPM Board of Directors last year in bringing a lawsuit against Hidroituango contractors that potentially could cost EPM billions of dollars in counter-claims.

If successful, counter-claims could wreck city-owned EPM’s finances for years or even decades to come – all triggered by politically self-interested, sweepingly populist claims that portray Mayor Quintero as standing-up to Medellin’s “corrupt” business sector.

However, this claim is publicly and sharply disputed by dozens of commercial and industrial trade associations, several trade unions and many civic groups, some of whom are calling for Mayor Quintero to be removed from office via a recall petition.


Smurfit Kappa Colombia on January 4 announced a US$50 million investment in a new corrugated-cardboard plant in Guarne, Antioquia, just east of Medellin.

To make way for the new plant, Smurfit Kappa recently sold a lot in Medellin that hosts its existing, 60-years-old "Carton de Colombia" plant.

Colombia Real Estate Fund-FIC, Arquitectura y Concreto and Londoño Gómez paid Smurfit Kappa US$50.3 million to acquire the Medellin lot for a new urban-development project, according to Smurfit.

“As of the first quarter of 2021, the construction of the new plant [in Guarne] begins, with an investment of US$50 million, including a totally new, state-of-the-art corrugator [production line], and new printing and finishing machines for cardboard boxes, as well as relocation of the current plant equipment,” according to the company.

“The new plant will enter into operation towards the end of 2023, with 50% greater capacity and designed to grow modularly until its capacity is doubled.

“In this way, Smurfit Kappa will generate more quality jobs in the region, both in the construction phase -- around 345 direct and indirect jobs -- and with the expansion of its production capacity. It will also strengthen its portfolio of packaging solutions for the mass consumption, industrial and agricultural sectors, including flowers and bananas, among others.”

The new plant will have Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification “for sustainable construction and will make available to customers a 'packaging experience center,' a space dedicated to innovation, where they can experience the design of their packaging with cutting-edge methodologies and tools, exclusive to Smurfit Kappa,” according to the company .

According to Alvaro José Henao, President of Smurfit Kappa for Colombia, Ecuador, Central America and the Caribbean, “with a market that increasingly demands sustainable, innovative and efficient packaging, investing in Colombia continues to be a great bet for the Smurfit Kappa Group.”


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About Medellin Herald

Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

Medellin Herald welcomes your editorial contributions, comments and story-idea suggestions. Send us a message using the "contact" section.

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