Free Competition in the Port Sector
"Growth rates projected for the coming years only allow return to the historic mediocrity" (The Time of Growth: IDB, March 2018)
In recent years Julian Palacio, Latinports’ executive director, has dedicated itself to alert the port community about the danger of the terminals proliferation in a port area (“favela ports”) and the construction of new terminals or the oversizing of the existing (“white elephants”). It was thus as in the Latin American Ports Forum held in Panama last month, his presentation revolved around The Great Challenge of the Latin American Port Sector, which began featuring background by that “who do not remember history is doomed to repeat it”, transmitting neglected recommendations of experts (“putting the bell to the cat”), which have led to the failure of some terminals and the destabilization of others. He insisted in recommending have “prudence with regard to the future” as “failing to plan is planning failure”, concluding that the great and immediate challenge of the port sector is the multimodal transportation and internal connectivity (including the last mile). In the medium term, the idea is to convert the port part of a more complete and efficient structure, Logistics Companies with Port, concept which since years ago promoted the President of Multiterminais Brazil and first Latinports’ Chairman, Richard Klien.
Coinciding with this, the Peruvian expert Jose Antonio Pejoves, in statements that Mundo Marítimo from Chile entitled Free Competition in the Maritime an Port Sector, said:
“Determine when a port should be opened to competition between two or more operators, is an issue that should be aligned with the port and logistics planning of each country; and ideally would be that authorities decisions are based on technical criteria and demand studies that determine whether there are conditions for a competition ‘on the market’ or ‘ by the market’, and aiming to whichever is more convenient to users. In these matters, if there is something that is categorical, it is that should not prevail dogmas”
If we want to be successful, public and private sector should take into account the above; if not, will be “plowing in the sea”, as two centuries ago the great Simon Bolivar described his frustration.