Most of the goods traded among the Central American countries are transported by land. Costa Rica has five land border posts. The most important border post is with Nicaragua called “Peñas Blancas”. Approximately 13% of the value of exported goods of Costa Rica are processed through the Peñas Blancas customs office in 2020.

Truck congestion is a daily problem in Peñas Blancas. Based on a time release study carried out in year 2022, it takes, in average, 1037.8 minutes (17.3 hours) to cross the border line from Costa Rica to Nicaragua at this border post. More than 99% of this time is attributed to queues. The first queue can have a length of more the 15 kilometres with an average waiting time of more then 13 hours, just in the first queue.

Between 2023 and 2024, the Border Integration Program of Costa Rica will invest approximately 45 million US dollars to build new infrastructure at the Peñas Blancas land border post. A blueprint of the new infrastructure as well as the new processes have been approved and it is necessary to evaluate if such investment will have the desired impact of reducing the congestion problem.

In this sense, this thesis addresses the capacity problem at the Peñas Blancas land border post by evaluating the existing conditions and future scenarios (one of them being the approved blueprint) for the Peñas Blancas land border post and provide complementary solutions for the congestion problem that might be introduced to the blueprint before the construction starts or is concluded.

The main research question that guides this thesis is the following: By what method can a design be evaluated in resolving a congested truck load export process?

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R. Zuidwijk (Rob), M. Pourakbar (Morteza)
Customs and Supply Chain Compliance
Rotterdam School of Management

S. Wong-Chan (Susana). (2023, March). Evaluating solutions for land border post congestion through simulations. Customs and Supply Chain Compliance. Retrieved from
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