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Puerto Quetzal

Context and Upcoming Challenges

Recently, the Fifth Chamber of the Administrative Litigation Court annulled the 25-year usufruct contract that the Empresa Portuaria Quetzal (EPQ) had granted to the Terminal de Contenedores Quetzal (TCQ), currently managed by APM Terminals. This ruling concludes seven years of legal disputes and marks the beginning of new logistical and administrative challenges for Puerto Quetzal.

Cancellation Process and Succession

According to the Attorney General's Office (PGN), the next step is the official cancellation of the usufruct in favor of APM Terminals in the Property Registry. This process may take between fifteen days and a month. Subsequently, the land will revert to EPQ administration, while APM Terminals must remove its equipment, machinery, and installations. Until the Property Registry completes this procedure, APM Terminals can continue operating at the port.

Possibility of Appeal

Following the announcement of the annulment, APM Terminals stated they are reviewing the legality of the resolutions and evaluating pertinent legal actions. However, according to lawyer Edgar Ortiz, the European company no longer has significant legal recourse to reverse the nullification of the concession. The annulment ruling dates back to 2017, and since then, all appeals and legal actions presented by the company have been unfavorable.

Puerto Quetzal

Implications of the Liquidation

The next challenge is the liquidation of the concession. According to Ortiz, the nullification implies that everything must return to the state it was in before the concession, meaning the State will have to assume the infrastructure built by APM Terminals. This situation presents a significant challenge for the country, as it must determine how to manage the liquidation fairly and equitably.

The investment made by APM Terminals in the concession area is protected by international treaties. If they do not receive compensation, the company could sue the Guatemalan State at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), which could result in a substantial indemnity for Guatemala.

"It is urgently necessary to set up a 'crisis table' with stakeholders such as Congress, the Attorney General's Office (PGN), the Executive, EPQ, and even the private sector as users, in order to find a solution."

Puerto de Carga


The annulment of the usufruct contract at Puerto Quetzal and the subsequent liquidation of the concession represent a considerable logistical challenge involving multiple stakeholders. It is crucial to address these issues with a corporate and strategic approach, ensuring minimal negative impact on port operations and protecting national interests. The situation requires coordination and transparency to ensure an efficient and equitable transition, preserving the stability and competitiveness of Puerto Quetzal in the international logistics sector.

According to an official statement issued by APM Terminals, they will continue operating normally until the courts and government entities allow otherwise. For any additional inquiries, please contact your commercial advisor.

Nexo Logistics

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