The Great Challenge of the Port Sector
After the crisis that affected the port sector during the current decade (apparently already overcome), which left us bitter experiences as a result of the indiscriminate expansion and proliferation of terminals, must avoid to continue the oversizing and rather focus on work in the still poor logistics and internal connectivity.
Referring to the Chilean port sector, but with application for all Latin America, the President of Manufacturing Promotion Society last month said that competitiveness must be strengthened from the ports to inland. “In general, a major challenge being faced by the port sector is everything that involves logistics from the ports to inland, access to ports, railway lines, everything is the intermodal subject. The challenge of competitiveness, cost reduction, have it port to land”, said the business leader in dialogue with PortalPortuario.cl.
On the other hand, the introductory part of the flyer of Latin America Ports Forum to be held in Panama on April 11 & 12 under need to prioritize logistics on the growth of the port sectorthe organization of Industry Exchange and with the support of Latinports, says: “Port business is in process of transformation adapting to the currents of change coming from the various sectors that make up the logistics chain”.
This is how the great challenge of the port sector is to improve the logistics of transport, where so many flaws exist in the ports of the region. Therefore, if we want to be competitive in our foreign trade, public and private sector must work together to overcome it and that should be the challenge for the period 2018-2020. Hence Latinports will continue in their tireless efforts to raise awareness among the public and private sector on the need to prioritize logistics on the growth of the port sector, because the latter is is exaggerating while the rest of the domestic logistics chain is still lagging.
This brings us to highlight the news that the outgoing Government of Chile decided that so mentioned Large Scale Port, PGE in Spanish (or better said, the Logistics Network of Large-Scale, as well the Government redefined it) was not a new port between Valparaíso and San Antonio as it was conceived initially (illogical additional competition for both ports and their terminals, many times criticized by Latinpors), but the extension by stages of one of them (with greater depth, expansion área, conectivity and proximity to Santiago), which will allow to optimize inland logistics with enough time until the mega work has been fully completed 20 years after start. As well said the Manager of Port Terminals Division of the important operator Saam “this project gives time to enhance the entire logistics chain, because from the perspective of the port infrastructure there is sufficient capacity to meet the demand for the next 10 to 15 years”. In our concept, the development of the stages in which it is conceived the project, must be adjusted periodically according to the real needs of the country, avoiding to be a straitjacket that eventually become in a grim white elephant.
Now, from another point of view, the National Association of Shipping Agents, Asonave in Spanish, pronounced (as long ago Maritime and Port Chamber had done) on the unnecessary of this project considering it “a huge investment that would generate a excessive growth of the port offer at a single point, at the expense of a gradual growth of supply, in accordance with the demand”, as well as “this additional supply will affect the viability of the other ports in the region, creating a strain of prices that It could lead to their disappearance as productive units”. The official stressed that “the substantial investment made by Puerto Central, which created a terminal for container ships in San Antonio, complemented with the mooring front extension built by Terminal Pacífico Sur and the planned construction of Terminal 2 in Valparaiso, deliver fronts of berthing for Post Panamax ships in sufficient quantity to meet the demand that can project for decades, making it unnecessary to devote resources to a PGE, which would be used more efficiently in the improvement of the access roads and exit from these terminals, key point to increase the productivity of the supply chain of foreign trade”.
As the Chilean situation looks like the Gulf of Mexico (oversizing of Tuxpan, to the detriment of Altamira and Veracruz, both in enlargement process) and others in the region, hopefully several mega-port projects (some of them without sense) will be reconsidered. As an example, the Nicaraguan Government is contemplating to discard the for us absurd mega-project of Interoceanic Canal to concentrate on a port project of deep waters in the Caribbean and remote Blufields, taking advantage of that it is soon to end the road project that will connect it to the Pacific. “Rectify is wise.”