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BMI View: Bleak trade dynamics and a lack of significant investment into the sector will hamper all freight
transport modes in Costa Rica over the short to medium term. Road and air freight volumes will expand in
2016 but at a modest rate, with the latter narrowly outpacing the former. Maritime freight will be a notable
exception however, with volumes continuing to accelerate over the medium term, largely as a result of the
Panama Canal expansion and upgrades at the Port of Limon.
Key Updates And Forecasts
? The outlook for Costa Rican trade is bleak, especially over the next few years. We forecast trade volumes
to post real growth of 4.2% in 2016, but slow markedly in 2017 before moving into contractionary
territory. Indeed, trade will be weighed down by a lack of export competitiveness and a dearth of
significant investment into the country. This is set to negatively affect freight volumes and consumer
? Road freight volumes will grow by 2.1% in 2016 to reach 14.3mn tonnes. Growth over the medium term
will average 2.5% to reach 15.83mn tonnes by 2020. We do not expect to see a strong improvement in
road freight growth over the medium term as below-average real GDP growth and the weak outlook for
agricultural production will weigh on growth.
? Air freight tonnage is forecast to grow by 3.2% in 2016, and to average 3.5% over the medium term. The
outlook for the country's air freight sector remains heavily tied in to its courier, delivery and technology
sectors. We expect steady expansion in volumes transported by air, boosted by the introduction of several
new services and routes by various airlines over 2016. However, the weak trade outlook will serve to
curtail demand and provide headwinds to sector growth.