In a recent visit of Mr. Jan Hoffmann of UNCTAD to Buenos Aires, he was (briefly) interviewed by a well-known local journalist and made some important declarations.
His interview (in spanish) can be opened in this link: https://tradenews.com.ar/puerto-buenos-aires-consolidacion-navieras-jan-hoffmann).
In 2000 Mr. Hoffmann worked for E.C.L.A.C Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean ,when the privatization of the ports of Chle and Peru was in full swing.
He then made a very important study: “The potential of “hub-ports” on the Pacific Coast of South America”, in which freight-rates were very important factors.
This study still is important.
In order to try to bring some of the important points forward, I made a first entry in the Spanish part of my blog, which I have freely translated in English, which can be opened here.( Read more).
I am still working on some additional points, which are briefly mentioned as “notes” in this English part.
This entry replaces a very confused one I made the day after I received a warning from my doctor that, for “health-reasons” I had to close this blog.
Those reasons are difficult to explain, but I hope that after reading this entry, these will be understood. They all have to do with the undeniable problems around the “Modernization Plan for the Port of Buenos Aires”, which A.G.P. started in December 2015. Moreover the doctor told me that I should finish my participation in the “Open Debate” in a blog which the Foundation Nuestro Mar, (=Our Sea), had opened in order to start an open discussion about those problems.
Some of these are very serious and still getting worse and if these are not solved correctly, they might have a negative effect on the economy of Argentina. (See www.nuestromar.org, where with some efforts you could find this in Spanish, in section “Puertos” under “Compilado” ).
Since January 2016, A.G.P. is working on the “tender-conditions” for a 30 year new concession of ONE container-terminal in the so-called New Port of Buenos Aires, after the 3 present concessions finish, which according to present conditions is in September 2019.
For the drafting of these very complicated tender-conditions , AGP has hired consultants (A.L.G.) that have charged already US$ 772.483,00 according to “Resolución AGP 129/2016” and another US$ 168.025,00 under “Res. AGP 169/2017. Right from the start, A.G.P. repeatedly promised the port-labor-unions, that they would make clear clauses to “safeguard the rights of the people which are now on the pay-role of the 3 present concessionaires”.
This was understood by the unions that all of them would have to be absorbed by the new concessionaire, which, according to union explanations, has been confirmed in writing by AGP. Although no information is available on the text of this agreement, official publications have confirmed that an agreement was made at which day of the “pay-roles” all persons would be identified.
During the full year 2017, the trustee of A.G.P., had several meetings with the labor-unions, in which he repeatedly promised to give them the exact text of this “tender-condition” in the “next meeting”, but this was never done and finally, the port-labor-unions began to threaten with “actions” in October 2017.
These have always had very serious negative consequences for the economy and many people started to request “clarity” and the government decided to take the principal part out of the meetings between A.G.P. and the unions and the Ministry of Labor intervened and started to handle this important problem.Although at the age of 86, I am totally retired and have no direct interest at all in any of these matters, the way these problems were handled made me SERIOUSLY UPSET and I suffered “strokes of high blood-pressure”.
I felt totally frustrated that my ideas, which were accepted before December 2015 in the so called think-tank “PENSAR” (=think in Spanish), in which I actively participated, were never accepted in any contact with authorities after January 2016.It was this frustration which finally caused my high blood-pressure.
FOUNDATION NUESTROMAR ("OUR SEA"), with a long history in Argentina, has put its blog, www.nuestromar.org at the disposal of professionals, who wish to participate in an open debate about the Modernization Plan for the Port of Buenos Aires.
Because I always have claimed that somebody should start such a debate, I sent my application immediately, which was accepted. On Saturday,July 15th, www.nuestromar.org published this with the title: The first contribution to the debate for the Modernization of the Port of Buenos Aires.
This was followed already on Monday July 17th by a contribution of Mr. Rodolfo Rocca, General Manager of the Port Authority of La Plata.
PORTSTRATEGY has published several important articles that refer to the Modernization Plan for the Port of Buenos Aires. On JULY 8th I sent a new proposal,The future roles of ports of the Atlantic- and Pacific-coasts in both hemispheres. But the "program was fully booked till October", when this text probably would have lost its goal.
But because PORTSTRATEGY admitted that this article has its merrits, I have decided to put it in this blog.
Why does Argentina need INTERMODAL TRANSPORT POLICIES? Read more.
Possibly some readers would like to have an idea of what is written in the Spanish texts of my blog. It starts with this text:
Books are not written to be read in 15 minutes and neither is this blog.
And to give an example: everyone will understand that you cannot describe in a few minutes, the serious problems that presently exist for ships that are loaded in Rosario, to reach deeper water south of Montevideo. Now these vessels suffer great and costly delays.
And neither can one clarify in a few minutes, that those extra-costs will be for account of our PRODUCERS and that finally this problem affects the competitiveness of the whole country.
But there are really people who are in a "hurry" and for them I have prepared two short "presentations" to start this blog:
The first one is the "background" of this blog: Open here.
Within a logical sequence, these two important things are elsewhere in this blog.
Do you want to start well with the reading of this site, to understand the ABUNDANT lessons that have existed since 1970 and that we STILL HAVE NOT LEARNED? Then you must pay attention to a PPT written for “Intermodal Transportation classes” in 2010 in an ITBA / FUNDACIÓN LIBERTAD DE ROSARIO program, based on the best history of the CONTAINER.
It is the story of Arthur Donavan and Joseph Bonney's 2006: THE BOX THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, and it has been completed with some texts from 3 books of the Department of Transportartion D.O.T., with the title INTERMODAL FREIGHT-TRANSPORTATION. (Spanish text: open here).
As a second step, you have to read the presentation made in a M.B.A in the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) on November 12, 2015: Foreign Trade and Competitiveness, also with small adjustments. (Spanish text: open here).
As a third step I have adapted the third part of the M.B.A. of the UBA of November 12, 2015, which presented in a class of Professor Mr. Eduardo Parodi, currently an official in the Secretariat of Planning of the Ministry of Transportation: (Spanish text: open here).
Invited by Carmen Polo, Sub-secretary of “Planning” in the MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT and by Mr. Emilio Alzaga, I made the following presentation in March 2016:
HOW TO DEVELOP A PORT POLICY: (Spanish text: open here).
THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE “CITY OF BUENOS AIRES” WITH ITS “NEW PORT in 2019”. A pending debate. (Spanish text: open here)
On April 13th Cronista/Transport & Cargo published this article, which was reproduced in www.nuestromar.org: The port of Buenos Aires is planned with a concession of 50 years and US$ 1 billion investment.
To this article I made 3 comments in Nuestromar, which I will repeat in an extended form in this website, as a continuation of "Lessons that can be extracted from the failed Advisory Council of the Sub-Secretariat of Ports and Waterways".All CITIZENS of the country have the RIGHT that the Port of Buenos Aires be EFFICIENT, COMPETITIVE and INSERTED IN THE PLANS TO REDUCE POVERTY. The right to be "efficient and competitive" has been taken from the example in a similar case of 2014 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which was universally accepted.
And I believe that all well-meaning people of the country will agree that it must be inserted in the fight against poverty AND THAT we should not spend US$ 1 billion of state investments in a Plan that offers no guarantees of success.
A port always has negative effects for a city and its surroundings.
Therefore, the CITIZENS of the C.A.B.A. and Greater Buenos Aires, moreover have the RIGHT TO DEMAND PROOF that in the planning of this "efficient and competitive" port, those solutions have been sought that will cause the least possible inconvenience to them. And for this, studies must be made of the cargo flows which are generated by the port and to DECREASE and not to INCREASE the multiple cases that exist now, where empty trucks or circuits where trucks with the same cargo, cross the city twice.
That's the reason why I made this first comment in www.nuestromar.org:
Who will defend the rights of 40 million Argentines to have an EFFICIENT AND COMPETITIVE Port ? And moreover the right of the citizens of B.A. that this port will cause the least possible inconvenience, which has a port always has for a city?
The other question I posed, was this: Will it be taken into account in the "light-motiv" (from the "leit-motiv" in German, "leading" motive) of the necessary ROUND TABLE CONFERENCES, that in a country with 30%, PRIORITIES OF INVESTMENTS MUST BE MADE?
And last but not least: Will bad decisions that already have been taken, be corrected?
Articles in PORTSTRATEGY related with “Lessons that can be learned from the failed Consejo Consultivo (advisory council) of the Under-secretariat of Ports and Waterways”.
Article Portstrategy May 2nd 2017by Mr. Olaf Merk. Read more.
My letter of May 12th to Mr.Olaf Merk and his answer. Read more.
Argentina’s Rising Grains Production Strands Vessels in River Traffic February 16, 2017 by Reuters, Author at gCaptain. See more.
This important article deserved several comments, which I asent in a letter to Mr. Guillermo Wade of CAPYM, (Cámara de Actividades Portuarias y Marítimas/ Chamber of Maritime Agencies of Rosario). See more.
At the invitation of the Bar of Lawyers of Lomas de Zamora / University of Lomas de Zamora, I made a presentation on May 10th, 2016 on the impact that "the Laws of Transportation have had on the Competitiveness" of different countries.
An important part of this presentation is based on the study that was made by proffessors from the Universities of Nottingham and Lund. In 2013 they presented the results of their studies, which demonstrated the great benefits Intermodal Transport has had on the enormous growth of "World Trade" in the last decades.
One of the main objectives was to determine which of the two pillars of this growth has contributed more: Trade Facilitation, which eliminated many barriers to trade or Intermodal Transport, which drastically has reduced transport costs.
The 3 findings of these studies left no doubt:
The Universities did not intend to elaborate on the reasons why the central countries have benefitted most and simply informed that the most striking results were found in countries with ports with good rail connections and therefore the greatest benefits were found in "North-North traffics" (between core countries) and few in "North-South" or "South -South traffic".
Many think it is a matter of "infrastructure", but as you can read in other studies mentioned in this presentation, the core-countries have carefully studied all factors that have to do with "costs" to move a load or a person from one point to another, which are much more than the mere costs charged by carriers.
In this presentation, the emphasis is on the studies that were made about the relation between Laws of Transportation and Competitiveness and about the studies that showed the best positive results.
Observations, suggestions and constructive criticisms are welcome.