The mostly European and Asian shipbuilding companies that have demonstrated interest in the auction to construct the project must submit bids on Feb. 14, with the winning offer set to be announced on Feb. 20.

Vice Admiral Ernesto Colunge, president of the SIMA state shipping company which is part of the Navy, said the interested firms include South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries, Italy's Fincantieri, Spain's Navantia, France's Naval Group, Germany's Thyssenkrupp, Britain's BAE Systems and Damen Shipyards of the Netherlands.

"The call for bids has been launched to pick a strategic partner to develop the shipyard alongside SIMA," Colunge told Reuters, shortly after speaking at a shipping industry event in Lima. He described the potential bidders as all "first class" shipyard builders.

He said the new shipyard should improve the capacity of SIMA's existing infrastructure and also foment technology transfers to boost productivity.

Colungue did not offer an estimated cost for the new infrastructure project next to the Callao port, Peru's largest.

Peru's upgraded port infrastructure aims to attract more shipments, especially from Asian markets, as well as serve as an low-cost export hub for South American businesses, including from Brazil.

China's Cosco Shipping is building the massive Chancay port, located about 70 kilometers (44 miles) north of Callao and set to come online later this year, while SIMA aims to renovate its fleet by building 23 new ships as well as a new dock that would host cargo ship repairs from Chancay's future operations.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Rosalba O'Brien)