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Medellín Metro News 121

Published in Medellín Metro News Written by July 17 2018 0

Colombia’s science-investigation unit Colciencias announced July 16 that it’s teaming-up with government officials for a first-ever “BioExpedition” this month near Anorí, northeast Antioquia – an area forbidden to nature-lovers because of decades of FARC guerrilla violence.

According to the announcement (see: http://www.colciencias.gov.co/sites/default/files/upload/noticias/prototipo_ficha_municipal_anori_-_julio_12.pdf), the BioExpedition will involve 22 researchers from the Eafit, Antioquia and CES universities; three United Nations officials, five community leaders, five professionals from Colciencias and 10 former FARC guerrillas who will help guide the group.

The expedition opens an opportunity to “discover the natural richness of a territory that was unexplored by institutions and scientists as a consequence of the armed conflict,” according to Colciencias.

Anorí hosts 52,000 hectares of continuous tropical humid forest, with animal, plant and insect species that may even be unknown to science, according to the organization. The explorers aim to find and categorize amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles, orchids and butterflies, as well as produce a television documentary.

“The starting point of the BioExpedition will be the village of La Tirana, and a camp will be established to cover an area of investigation including the Anorí River, the Hiracales stream and the Nechí River,” according to Colciencias.

The Colombian Army will establish a unified command post to monitor daily the safety and health of the explorers, and “checkpoints will be placed in strategic locations,” according to the organization.

“This initiative [also] constitutes a key process for the design of strategies of [former guerrilla fighters] reincorporation and rural development around biodiversity,” according to Colciencias.

Published in Medellín Metro News Written by July 12 2018 0

EPM general manager Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta revealed in a July 11 press conference that engineers are making more progress in recovering the US$5 billion, 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric dam project in Antioquia in the wake of a temporary emergency caused by a geological fault and a diversion-tunnel failure last May.

Thanks to falling water levels in the Cauca river – the result of the typical Colombia summer-dry-season starting in July – waters behind the dam have dropped to 380 meters above sea level, down nearly 14 meters from a peak in June. This will help accelerate engineering work and recovery efforts.

“According to hydrological forecasts, it is estimated that the reservoir will stabilize between elevations 370 meters above sea level and 375 meters above sea level” during the summer season, according to EPM.

Meanwhile, some relatively minor landslides above the intake gates for the tunnels leading to the machine room (where the generator turbines eventually will be located) prompted EPM to begin building a metallic-roof structure that will protect workers, machinery and equipment at the site, Londoño explained.

In that area, workers soon will install closure gates for the tunnels -- hence enabling EPM to enter and repair whatever damage might be found in the machine room powerhouse, which has been used temporarily to evacuate Cauca river water because of the diversion-tunnel failure last May.

“Once we complete the civil works and install the gates of [machine-room entry tunnels] 1 and 2, in about a month, we will be able to to close the flow of water through the powerhouse,” according to EPM.

Meanwhile, last Friday (July 6), EPM radar monitors detected a rock fall in a road tunnel leading to the machine house, “which caused a slight decrease in the flow of water through the discharge tunnels,” although subsequent flows are now stable, according to the company.

“For the closure of the powerhouse, the company is working on a plan that includes closing a [Cauca River water] catchment gate and leaving a second gate open to allow [a required minimum] ecological flow to the Cauca River [downstream of the dam]. When the level of the reservoir [behind the dam] is very close to reaching the height of the engineered spillway at 401 meters above sea level, this second gate will be closed and the water flow through the machine house will be interrupted,” thus enabling EPM workers to enter and begin repairs -- hopefully before year-end 2018, Londoño added.

With both the diversion tunnel and the machine-house tunnels closed, that means that Cauca River waters will instead flow safely over the engineered spillway, avoiding water-flooding in tunnels.

Meanwhile, EPM continues works to raise the dam to 418 meters above sea level over the next few weeks, after which a specialist contractor -- Soletanche Bachy Cimas -- will begin injecting a special type of concrete (bentonite and cement) inside the dam, further reinforcing the works, he explained.

This reinforcement work is likely to be completed by year-end 2018 or the first few weeks of 2019, hence ensuring that the dam can withstand any floods that theoretically might happen once every 500 years, Londoño explained. Dam construction nevertheless will continue to 435 meters above sea level -- virtually eliminating any possible dam-overtopping by some theoretical, Biblical-style flood.

“For the definitive plugging of the right diversion tunnel and the auxiliary diversion system, EPM and the CCC Ituango construction consortium are advancing in technical and economic negotiations with [Houston-based] Halliburton, specialized in drilling for the oil industry," EPM added. "This company will finalize in the next weeks the engineering design to proceed with the contracting and execution phases,” according to EPM.

Final closure of that diversion tunnel is estimated to be completed around October, Londoño added.

As for EPM’s concurrent social work to help downstream populations in Puerto Valdivia -- temporarily moved to shelters far-above the river's edge during the emergency -- “of the 1,640 families that can receive financial support from EPM to temporarily rent a home and pay their monthly maintenance, 929 families already obtained this support and another 711 families are in the process of being processed. EPM has provided all the resources so that the evacuees have comprehensive attention in the current circumstances,” the company added.

Published in Medellín Metro News Written by July 11 2018 0

Investment promotion agency Agencia de Cooperacion e Inversion de Medellin y el Area Metropolitana (ACI) announced July 10 that besides the under-construction, 220-room Hilton luxury hotel on Las Palmas and the recently completed, US$50 million Marriott hotel in El Poblado in Medellin, Antioquia soon will host another 34 new hotel projects in 2019.

Citing statistics from Colombian hotel trade association Cotelco, ACI explained that “Medellín went from having 176 hotels with 7,370 rooms in 2016, to 197 hotels and 8,628 rooms in 2018. By 2019, 34 new projects will be undertaken in the territory of Antioquia.”

“We are the department [Antioquia] with the most investment -- COP$674 billion [US$235 million] --in the construction of hotels in Colombia, directly generating more employment, as 56,640 workers in Medellín are employed by hotels,” added Johana Martínez, executive director of Cotelco’s Antioquia-Chocó chapter.

Among the new and under-construction hotels in Medellín: Decameron, Hilton, Travelers, Wyndham, Atton (US$30 million), Viaggio, La Quinta Inn, Marriott, Metro Hotel, City Express (US$42 million), Click Clack and Blue Doors, according to ACI.

Citing Colombian SITUR tourism-agency figures, ACI added that “the accelerated growth in hotels responds mainly to the demand for the sustained increase in the arrival of travelers to the city, with 735,570 visitors in 2017, of which 274,693 were foreigners, an increase of 4.8% over 2016.”

“Tourist growth and the great attraction for foreign investment offered by Medellín -- part of a city-region strategy -- are key elements for the September 24-25, 2018, realization of SAHIC [South American Hotel and Tourism Investment conference] here, one of the most important international events in the sector,” the agency added.

Besides business and convention tourism growth here, eco-tourism is also growing in Antioquia, according to Federico Guerra Hoyos, Secretary of Productivity and Competitiveness for the departmental government of Antioquia.

Antioquia “is one of the places with the greatest number of bird species in the world. All this natural beauty is very close to villages with hotel infrastructure, which, added to the host talent of the residents, make our territory an unforgettable place and a unique sensation,” Guerra added.

Published in Medellín Metro News Written by July 10 2018 0

Medellin’s “Metro” public transit agency announced July 9 that Wall Street bond rater Fitch just upgraded Metro’s long-term debt rating to “AAA (col)” from “AA + (col)” while the short-term rating remains at a relatively strong “F1 + (col).”

“In both cases, these are the highest ratings that [Fitch] gives to Colombian companies,” according to Metro, which operates a mainly electric-powered railcar, aerial-tram and surface-tram system, as well as a natural-gas-fueled bus rapid transit (BRT) system in the Medellin metropolitan area.

The ratings indicate that “Medellín Metro has been characterized by solid management and administration,” supported by “income legitimacy, operational risk, financial profile and asymmetric added risk,” according to the agency.

“In the case of the long-term rating, Fitch Ratings raised the rating to 'AAA (col)' from 'AA + (col)' with a stable outlook, which is assigned to issuers or obligations with the lowest expectation of default risk in relation to all other issuers or obligations in the same country. The outlook indicates that it is unlikely that the rating will change in a period of between one and two years.

“In the case of the short-term rating, Fitch affirmed the 'F1 + (col)' rating it had given in its previous review, also with a stable outlook, which is assigned to the lowest default risk in relation to others in the same country. When a + sign is added, as in the case of the Medellín Metro, this indicates that the liquidity profile is particularly strong.

“The legitimacy of revenues refers to the capacity to increase them and the competitive position in the sector, a factor that was considered strong due to the existence of a strategic objective that establishes that by 2020, 10% of revenues must come from different sources to the rate.

“Operational risk is considered as a factor in the medium range because Metro adequately identifies its costs, which allows it to have a certain degree of flexibility for [containing] them.

“Regarding the financial profile, this is considered as a strong range since the EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] generation is robust and its margins, although they show the start-up of greater services, remain relatively stable. Likewise, the liquidity position is good due to the existence of adequate levels of cash and liquid investments of free destination. Finally, Fitch highlights the conservative management of investment portfolios, which have a low risk profile,” Metro added.

Published in Medellín Metro News Written by June 28 2018 0

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%).

Published in Medellín Metro News Written by June 19 2018 0

In a June 20 press conference, Medellin-based multinational electric power giant EPM announced that it now foresees the likelihood of overcoming the current engineering crisis at its US$5 billion, 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric project in Antioquia by around October 2018.

What's more, EPM revealed in a separate filing June 18 that Hidroituango construction would be completed by around 2021 -- possibly a year later than initially planned --  assuming that current engineering and geology challenges facing the dam and tunnel works are overcome.

EPM general manager Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta explained that thanks to falling water levels in the Cauca River, EPM probably can move in the next months to close permanently the right diversion tunnel that had collapsed and burst last month, forcing EPM to redirect Cauca River waters temporarily through the dam's machine house. 

Since EPM is likely to have completed raising and reinforcing the dam to at least 418 meters above sea level over the coming weeks, it's now become possible to forecast closing another crucial tunnel -- that is, the tunnel to the machine room -- hence enabling Cauca River waters to flow safely over the engineered spillway at 401 meters above sea level, rather than through problematic tunnels. 

Bottom line: The currently evacutated downstream populations in Puerto Valdivia could return to their homes, probably around October -- meaning the crisis is nearly over.

In the filing (see: https://www.superfinanciera.gov.co/publicacion/informacion-relevante-61446, listing under "Empresas Publicas de Medellin ESP,"), EPM points out that “until today [June 18] the technical information available allows us to estimate that the main structures of the Ituango hydroelectric project -- dam, landfill and powerhouse -- have not been significantly affected, so the completion of the project is considered viable, which we believe could be carried out within an estimated period of three years. But there is still uncertainty due to the fact that several of the activities necessary to achieve this objective are in the process of definition and design.”

According to the filing, EPM is working with “specialists, contractors and a panel of national and international experts in regaining control of the project with actions that include reaching the 418 [meters above sea level] of the dam, plugging the right [Cauca River water] diversion tunnel, covering the auxiliary diversion system and closing the flow of water through machine house.

“In this process, the company has been accompanied by world authorities in fields of knowledge such as: construction aspects, hydraulics, geology, geotechnics, risk management and emergency response,” according to the filing.

Despite the current challenges, EPM so far this year has delivered earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of COP$1.7 trillion (US$580 million), up 10% year-on-year, according to the filing. EPM is 100% owned by the city of Medellin, which gets about 25% of its annual revenues from the utility.

What’s more, the company expects that full-year 2018 EBITDA will come-in at around COP$5 billion (US$1.7 billion), according to EPM.

In addition, EPM can tap US$1.3 billion in credit lines from major international financiers including the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB Invest, CAF and BNDES, according to the company.

Furthermore, EPM has decided to cut 2018 expenditures by around COP$300 billion (US$102 million) in order to help offset future losses expected by delays in electricity sales from Hidroituango, as well as to cover associated extra costs for food, shelter, water, sanitation, utilities, transport, health-care and new infrastructure for affected downstream populations during the temporary crisis.

What’s more, the company has identified a further COP$2 trillion (US$681 million) in possible postponements of planned investments, in order to compensate for future delays in earnings from Hidroituango, according to the filing.

If necessary, EPM also could tap sales of certain assets from its COP$48 trillion [US$16 billion] portfolio, including assets in affiliates worth more than COP$9 trillion (US$3 billion), according to the company.

Thanks to continuing construction of the dam – now at 415 meters above sea level -- and with the engineered spillway now complete, the dam could withstand a Cauca River flood-flow of 6,000 meters per second, a rate that is calculated to occur about once every 500 years, according to the company.

“In this priority landfill [that is, the accelerated raising of the dam-height to 415 meters], the same materials were also used in the construction of the [pre-emergency dam works] up until the moment of the [diversion-tunnel collapse and later tunnel rupture] on April 28, when the dam elevation was 385.8 meters above sea level. These materials comply with national and international standards in terms of impermeability, filters and transitions for this type of works,” according to the filing.

“After reaching the [current] level 415 meters above sea level, the works are now focused on raising the dam to 418 meters above sea level and reinforcing the priority landfill. This with the purpose of turning [the priority section landfill] into a definitive dam for the project and reaching a final elevation of 435 meters above sea level.

“To have greater control over any contingency, a monitoring center was established that operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, where it is possible to observe that for [the last] 10 days the behavior of the monitored indicators (flow, dam and landslides) show a normal and stable performance,” EPM added.

Beyond all these financial and engineering safety measures, EPM also has a US$2.55 billion insurance policy covering infrastructure and equipment damage (with a US$1 million deductible), and a loss-of-electricity-sales policy (because of delays in entry-into-operations beyond 90 days) of US$628 million, the company added.

That policy is underwritten by global insurance giant Maxseguros, while EPM’s own (proprietary) insurance company isn’t affected, according to the company.

Published in Medellín Metro News Written by June 13 2018 0

The latest monthly study from Medellin-based wholesale electric-power grid operator XM finds that hydroelectric generators now account for 85.7% of all national power generation – confirming Colombia’s enviable status among the “greenest” power generators on Earth.

What’s more: Once Medellin-based EPM resolves what today is looking more like a temporary engineering problem with its under-construction, 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric dam in Antioquia, hydropower’s dominance in Colombia is likely to continue for decades to come.

The city of Medellin is the 100% owner of EPM -- and the US$5 billion “Hidroituango” project is expected to help to continue delivering about 25% of the city’s annual revenues, when the current tunnel-and-dam engineering challenges are overcome -- as is now expected -- over the coming months.

Meanwhile, EPM announced June 13 that it has hired Imperial College (London) geology expert Nicolas Barton -- one of the world's top authorities on rock stability associated with mountains, dams and tunnels -- to investigate the current status and outlook for the rock massif and tunnels above and adjacent to the Hidroituango dam. EPM general manager Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta previously has stated that existing geological studies and EPM's continuous measurements employing sophisticated equipment indicate a very small possibility of any major collapse of the massif. 

Aside from hydropower -- 99.17% of all renewable power delivered to the Colombian grid -- other relatively negligible renewable-power generators here include bagasse-based thermal power generation (0.75%), wind-turbine generation (0.06%) and photovoltaic power (0.02%), the new XM study shows (see chart, above).

Bagasse-fired thermal power generation (using sugar-cane crop residue) fell 37% month-on-month (May 2018 versus April 2018) while biogas-fired thermal power generation plummeted 66%, the study shows.

“The source of [renewable] energy with the greatest contribution [to the national power grid] was the hydraulic generation with 99.17%, equivalent to 158.47 GWh-day [gigawatt-hours per day], a decrease of 0.45% in relation to April of 2018, and solar power, with a contribution of 0.02%, equivalent to 0.03 GWh-day, saw a decrease of 6.33% in relation to April of 2018,” according to XM.

“The total generation with non-renewable resources (fossil fuel) for the month of May was 26.70 GWh-day, a growth of 7.49% compared to April 2018.

“By subtype by source of energy, we found that natural gas was the largest contributor [in fossil-fueled thermal-power generation] with a 72.25% share, equivalent to 19.29 GWh-day, 10% more than that reported in April 2018. The greatest decrease was presented by liquids [diesel and fuel-oil] with 9.30%,” XM reported.

“For Colombia, it is very positive to have a diversified energy matrix, adaptable to climate changes, thereby contributing to preserve the provision of electric power service in conditions of reliability, security and economy,” added XM’s National Dispatch Center manager Jaime Alejandro Zapata Uribe.

Published in Medellín Metro News Written by June 07 2018 0

The Sociedad Colombiana de Ingenieros -- (SCI, the Colombian national association of engineers) -- on June 6 announced that several possible solutions are seen arising to overcome the current crisis affecting EPM’s under-construction, 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric dam in Antioquia.

The US$5 billion "Hidroituango" project would supply 17% of Colombia's entire national electricity demand once completed -- although the current crisis has forced EPM to postpone the original, partial start-up of December 2018 to some as-yet-unknown, future date.

According to the SCI announcement (obtained by Medellin Herald), a special commission of SCI engineers met with EPM last week to review the various engineering challenges facing the project.

Below is the complete SCI statement, translated from Spanish to English by Medellin Herald:

“Last Friday, June 1, 2018, a special commission of the SCI, convened by its President [Argelino J. Duran Ariza] for the purpose, was received at the EPM facilities by EPM general manager Dr. Jorge Londoño, and the engineers Carlos Eduardo Isaza and Luis Fernando Restrepo, President and Infrastructure Manager of INTEGRAL SA, the firm that designed the project and advises [EPM] during the construction.

“The purpose of the meeting was to obtain first-hand information about the current status of each of the components of the project, the associated risk factors, and the measures being taken to reduce the threats that may affect the communities downstream of the project, and the project itself.

“The verbal information received at the meeting is consistent with the report of the commission of experts sent by the North American government, made known over the weekend, which indicates several threats that may affect the project, with potential effects on the communities downstream of it, including:

“1. Debris [landslides] from the slopes above the reservoir with the potential effect of generating a wave that could overtop the height of the dam, or plug the [water-capture-and-escape tunnel] in the machine house, and/or the [engineered] spillway.

“2. Unchecked loss of control of the right [water] deviation tunnel, which currently discharges 100 cubic meters per second.

“3. Undesirable infiltrations [of Cauca River water] through the dam at level 380 [meters above sea level], with the new design adopted for the so-called ‘priority landfill,' which [potentially] could lead to its failure.

“As for possible damage suffered in the cavern of the machine house, the special commission of the SCI was informed that according to the monitoring carried out, the cavern has not suffered any appreciable damage. Neither has there been detected any possibility of failure of the rock mass of the right massif [the mountain above the dam and machine house] and that all the underground [diversion tunnel blockage] events to date have been related to the location of the geological fault called Los Mellizos.

“EPM informed us that in order to empty the reservoir [behind the dam], there is a possibility of constructing a discharge system with a vertical well to which three existing reservoir arms [the routine drainage systems used in all hydroelectric dams] would be connected. However, it is not clear how much time would be required to build this, although it would be a process of several months.

“EPM expects that the flows of the Cauca River will behave according to historical records and decrease ostensibly from the second week of June, so that the decline in the level of the reservoir begins. This descent would eventually reach level 385 [meters above sea level], which would allow closing the gates of water-capture tunnels 1 and 2 [connecting to] the machine house, the only ones where the water is [now] entering. If such a decision were made, then the only controllable evacuation of the reservoir water would be through the [engineered] spillway [near the top of the dam, at 401 meters above sea level].

“The commission of the SCI was informed of the different monitoring systems that EPM has implemented in the project, and the formation of the integrated information center, which will give continuous results to feed the decisions that the Unified Command Post must adopt, in order to activate the corresponding alerts for the protection of the lives of workers and communities in the basin.

“At the date of our meeting, [EPM] reported that they are formulating a risk-assessment model linked to the instrumentation, and to the evaluation of the necessary time between the issuance of the alert and the occurrence of an event, in order to determine the time required for the possible scenarios and perform evacuation processes.

“The members of the SCI commission suggested some additional actions for consideration by the technical teams of the project, which were well received by EPM and its advisors.

“As a result of the analysis of the information received, the SCI found:

“1. Since the beginning of the emergency, EPM has adopted measures and actions to protect the stability of the works, seeking to reduce the threats to protect the stability of the works and seeking to reduce the threats that materialize, given the circumstances. Said measures correspond to: accelerated enhancement [raising the height] of the dam, evacuation of water through the machine house, and completion of the spillway. For these tasks and to face the various technical challenges that arise, EPM has had experts from the national consulting firms INTEGRAL and INGETEC, and several international experts of global relevance.

“2. It is unquestionable that all identified threats, as well as some other events that may affect the behavior of the dam, will disappear when the reservoir can be emptied in a controlled manner.

“3. Up to now there is no modeling that allows determining the probability of the occurrence of events caused by the threats mentioned, or others not yet identified, so it is not possible to predict with certainty when one of them may occur.

“4. The SCI has not had access to the report presented by the North American commission of experts regarding [allegedly non-optimal material used for the emergency raising of the dam to 410 meters] standards, so we cannot endorse the [North American commission] recommendations not to plug the right diversion tunnel or not to close the water passage through the machine houses, which EPM should evaluate.

“5. The project is still in high-risk condition, which puts the populations below the dam in high-risk condition. It is expected that the monitoring systems allow to anticipate alerts and possible evacuation orders in a timely manner. Therefore, EPM urges the inhabitants to be in permanent attention to the issuance of warnings and evacuation orders issued by the corresponding authorities.

“6. For the SCI, it is evident that the high [water] pressures and the saturation of the mass of the right massif at the dam site originate mainly by the flow of water through the cavern of the machine house. So it would be advisable to suspend this flow in the shortest possible time, but evaluating [also] the impact of [closing the machine-house water tunnel] on the possibility of [Cauca River water] overtopping the dam. Anyway, drying-out the machine house will require a gradual process of pressure release to avoid a possible collapse [of the machine-house cavern].

“7. It is suggested to the UNGRD [Unidad Nacional de Gestión del Riesgo y Prevención de Desastres, the disaster-prevention agency] to coordinate simulations of total evacuation of the populations that may be affected in the event of a breakage of the dam, since the response time will be a critical factor to safeguard lives.

“The SCI’s disposition to collaborate with EPM will be reiterated for overcoming the emergency, informing EPM that once discussions have been analyzed, the SCI will send EPM any additional suggestions. EPM’s offer to provide complementary technical information, if necessary, is appreciated.”

Published in Medellín Metro News Written by June 06 2018 0

The Colombian national infrastructure agency (Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura, ANI) announced June 6 that thanks to Colombia’s new entrance into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 13 major international funding organizations now aim to invest in “fourth generation” (4G) highway projects here.

Ten of those organizations are private-equity funds while the other three are pension funds, according to ANI.

Colombia’s entry into the 37-member-nations OECD “is an affirmation of the quality of our institutions, of the transparency and the favorable environment that has been developed for national and international private investment,” according to ANI.

“This seal of quality is a key factor to attract more foreign investment to the country, since being in the OECD guarantees a country to have the best practices,” added ANI president Dimitri Zaninovich.

Most of the large institutional investors active in the infrastructure sector “have limitations to invest in countries outside the OECD. Now Colombian projects can access this new source of capital,” according to ANI.

To date, ANI has approved 30 “4G” highway projects, of which 21 are under construction and nine are in preconstruction, according to the agency.

“Of the total of these projects, 26 have demonstrated their ability to finance infrastructure works before ANI, and 15 have signed credit agreements,” according to the agency.

Among Antioquia’s key “4G” highway projects are “Pacifico 1,” Pacifico 2,” “Ruta al Mar 1,” Ruta al Mar 2,” and “Vias del Nus,” all of which would drastically improve freight transport between Medellin and major ports on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

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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.

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