‘Mar 1’ Highway Linking Medellin to Atlantic, Pacific Ports Nears Financial Close
Colombia’s national development agency (Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional, FDN) announced June 27 that it approved another COP$600 billion (US$204 million) in debt finance for the crucial “Mar 1” highway project linking Medellin to current and future Atlantic ports in Antioquia and indirectly to the Pacific port of Buenaventura.
The latest debt approval means that definitive financial close on the project is expected around September 2018, according to FDN. The new senior debt credit carries a term of up to 18 years, the agency added.
“The financing of the project comprises a structure with three tranches, two tranches in pesos — one in pesos and one in UVR [inflation-adjusted pesos] — and one tranche in U.S. dollars,” according to FDN.
“Thus, the total debt of the project amounts to COP2.04 trillion [US$693 million], of which COP1.48 trillion [US$502 million] is structured in pesos and COP$560 billion [US$190 million] are denominated in dollars. With this loan, the total participation of the FDN represents 29.5% of the total debt of the project,” according to the agency
The project consists of upgrading and operating the existing highway between Santa Fe de Antioquia and Bolombolo (71 kilometers), constructing and operating a new divided highway between Medellin and Santa Fe de Antioquia (43 kilometers), construction and operation of a parallel tunnel to the existing “Tunel al Occidente” west of Medellin (4.6 kilometers) and the construction of 39 bridges, according to FDN.
The project also will connect with three other “fourth generation” (4G) highway projects including “Mar 2” and “Conexión Pacífico 2,” the latter of which would drastically improve freight traffic between Medellin and the Pacific port of Buenaventura.
Partners in the “Mar 1” project including Austrian construction company Strabag (Strabag AG Switzerland (37%), Strabag SAS (0.5%) and Strabag AG Austria; Sacyr (Sacyr Concesiones Colombia (37.5%) and Sacyr Concesiones Participadas SL; and the Colombian company Concay, SA (25%).