President of the International Congress Trans -Port 2021, Franco Brzovic: “Addressing matters of digitization in the maritime-port business is of a central nature”
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Press Trans-Port 2021
After assuming the Chairman of the International Congress of Trans Port 2021, the also Board of Directors of the San Antonio Port Authority, Franco Brzovic, held a conversation with the organization of the maritime-port exhibition to be held in Santiago de Chile between August 31 and September 2. On the occasion, Brzovic, the newly appointed head of Congress, addressed the evolution of the national ports as a State policy and the opportunities for the maritime-port industry to adapt solutions, topics that will be addressed during this event.
What challenges have the Port Authorities of Chile and San Antonio Port faced in terms of the operational continuity of services in the pandemic and the economic recovery that is beginning to take place?
Chile is an open economy with 4,500 km of coastline and 80% of its foreign trade uses maritime transport and public and private ports. Cargoes such as wheat, soybeans and corn are examples of supply chains that require 24×7 operation of our ports. In this context, we believe that important opportunities continue to present themselves in the coordination of the entire logistics chain related to the loading and unloading of ships and the flows of trucks and railways using public accessibility.
That is why the main goal is to have a more efficient landside operations, combining better road and rail transport services, and in, where logistics and digitization, themes of this International Trans-Port Congress 2021, become fundamental tools that will impact in the movement of ships, the coordination of land resources and therefore, this activity will have an impact on the economic recovery due to the rise in trade cargo flows in 2021.
To show mention the sustained increase in 2021 of the transfers of cars attended from Roll-on / Roll-off ships, accounting for a total of 36 thousand mobilized vehicles in the first months of the year, signifying an important collaboration effort between shipping agencies, concessionaire and automotive companies to speed up the delivery of products to the final consumer, amid the pandemic and its restrictions.
What is the progress in the negotiations with your current concessionaires that will allow the port’s operational capacity to be expanded in the medium term?
One of the main objectives of the Port is to generate an increase in cargo transfer capacity in the medium term, anticipating the Outer Port project. To this end, we are working with concessionaires to accelerate their investments in port infrastructure and machinery. A first aspect to mention was the recent and successful tender for the Policarpo Toro Liquid Bulk Terminal, which allowed us, during the pandemic, to receive important shipments of very important chemical products for health issues.
It should also be noted that together with our largest concessionaire, San Antonio Terminal Internacional (STI), whose main cargo is container traffic, we managed to conclude a negotiation at the end of December 2020 to extend the contract until 2029 where it was agreed to replace the platform of backing areas towards the sea by other elements that allow increasing efficiency, which includes new cranes and better safety standards for cargo transfer, all of the above achieving an adequate economic balance for both parties. This agreement will allow an increase of 300 thousand Teus per year of new capacity for the next few years.
In turn, with Puerto Central (DP World San Antonio) we received his vision of future projects, because in two more years we must begin the negotiation for the extension of the concession. To date, they have reached significant levels of performance and managed to increase their capacity.
It should be noted that Puerto Panul mobilizes 90% of the solid bulk of the Port of San Antonio with around 4 million tons of key solid bulk for human and animal nutrition and operates 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
On what point is the Outer Port project as a long-term solution and the critical success factors of this important initiative for the central macrozone of Chile?
It has been possible to assign the Outer Port to the port of San Antonio once the evaluation stage that three governments successively carried out, ending with President Bachelet in 2018 announcing that, definitively, the large capacity port project for the central macrozone would be built in the city of San Antonio.
This project, in the first place, must have special protections for the tides, so it must be provided with a shelter capacity that will require physical structures of a very significant cost. One of the great challenges for the State of Chile will be the initial investment in the construction of the shelter molo, an initial project with a total cost of public investment of about 1,400 million dollars that considers the construction of a railway line that will allow the mobilization of all the material required to build this maritime wall, which will not affect the population related of land transport.
On the other hand, the experts anticipate the arrival of ships of up to 400 meters and that could have the capacity to mobilize between 20 to 24 thousand teus. This level of requirement will not only push for a large container storage yard space, but also new maritime equipment such as tugs, technological moorings, among other advanced technology equipment.
Currently, the Outer Port project is going through its environmental impact study phase, which consists of between 13,000 and 14,000 pages, where its admissibility for analysis by the environmental impact system was declared. Citizen consultations were also carried out within the norms, which collected more than 5,000 observations, a very common question given the nature of a project of this magnitude, and which are entirely positive for improving the project.
Parallel to this environmental impact study, the Port Authority is working with investors who have an association or relationship with port operators and who can finance the total value of the investment and expect profitable returns once the port use fees begin to be paid when it begins the commercial exploitation of the outer port. With this approach to financing and return, we are trying to avoid heavy investments by the State of Chile, especially in times of difficult economic and fiscal situation.
Regarding the estimated times, it should be borne in mind that the Environmental Impact study began in March 2020, which has now been extended for 14 months to provide information that was missing to complete the study in its entirety. Based on this precedent, the movement of rocks for the shelter molo and the construction of the first concession site known as Site 1-Mar is calculated in late 2023 and early 2024, which would enter operation in the third quarter of 2030. and there it continues to grow in the construction of other berths until approximately 2040.
Why can Trans-Port 2021 be transformed into a space of high interest for the Chilean and Latin American maritime-port sector? What expectations does Puerto San Antonio have in this important event and you in particular as president of Trans-Port
Maritime transport will continue to be vital for all South American countries that have increased in recent years their commercial exchanges with Asian economies and consumption centers in North America and Europe. In this context, peripheral countries like ours cannot be left behind, having to maintain conditions for a constant flow of imported products such as consumer goods and capital goods and an export rhythm that are a permanent source of foreign exchange. Chilean products such as copper, cellulose, wine and grapes, must continue to flow to all these consumer markets throughout the world, so all ports and their port cities must maintain and improve their services to continue ahead.
Addressing technological issues such as digitization in the maritime-port business in the context of the Trans-Port 2021 International Congress, “Digitization and sustainability: the Challenges of the Maritime Port Industry” is of central character, since beyond updating ourselves, we must be aware that we are in a historical moment moving towards the consolidation of a collaborative economy. Beyond copying initiatives or solutions, you must be smart to imitate what is good and adapt it to the circumstances of our countries and our realities. For example, today it is essential to work with powerful technologies and algorithms in critical operations such as the movement of ships to enter and leave a port, which take elements such as the right conditions so that ships do not wait too long and choose to go to another port, since these decisions can strongly affect the cargoes waiting in port, since they lose their condition and therefore their value. Therefore, all port actors that participate in these processes must be up to date by integrating these types of tools into their business.
Finally, as authorities, we must advance in the generation of public policies that are sustainable with a vision of the future. In this context, the Trans-Port 2021 International Congress also offers us the opportunity to learn about this type of successful experiences or Case Study. In summary, I have gratefully accepted this nomination as Chairman of Trans-Port 2021 because I am convinced that both the chosen topics and the way in which the event will be developed, will allow all the participants among executives, professionals, organizations, and countries, to increase our knowledge and contact networks, especially with those markets with which we are connected at the business level. It is a great idea that deserves to be maintained over time.
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