plans big investments. The new company controls a third of
Brazil’s total railway network of about 30,000km of track. New
stretches of track are to be built, existing ones upgraded to
allow the share of goods reaching Paranagua by train to rise
50%. Rumo is owned by the Cosan group, the leading producer
and exporter of sugar and a partner with Shell in oil and ethanol
distribution in Brazil.
Brazil’s new foreign minister, Jose Serra, is anxious for a
project which will permit many more goods to travel by water
between five countries in the region, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia,
Uruguay and Paraguay. At the moment, only 1% of the goods
moved between Brazil and Argentina, the market for 40% of
Brazil’s exports, travel by inland waterway. Improvements would
require linking the 1,300km-long Tiete-Parana system, which
traverses Sao Paulo, Parana and Goias states, with the Parana
river and its tributary the Paraguay. The Paraguay river traverses
Paraguay and passes close to Bolivia, finally reaching soya
producing regions in Mato Grosso state. Such a waterway
would require giant locks to be built at the Itaipu power station,
one of the world’s largest.
Further north, the Vale company has joined forces with
Japanese trading company Mitsui and others, to form the
‘Integrated Logistics’ company. As well as the lines used to carry
300mt of iron ore each year from Vale’s Carajas mines in Para
state and its mines in Minas Gerais state, to the ports of Itaqui
and Tubarao the Integrated Logistics company operates a
tortuous line which links the state of Bahia, with Minas Gerais
and the south, a link which is to be upgraded.
One line on which little progress is being made since work
started in 2006, and which was scheduled to open to traffic by
2010, is the Transnordestina. This is to run east from soya
producing areas to ports in Pernambuco state. The
Transnordestina is making very slow progress, and is having
difficulties obtaining finance, and with being granted wayleaves.
The Transnordestina is not progressing as slowly as a parallel line
planned to cross Bahia, one of Brazil’s largest states, from east to
west. It had been hoped that this line would allow large
reserves of iron ore in Bahia state to be developed by
newcomers to the ore industry. But this option now appears
much less attractive than a decade ago. The steel industry in
Chin can be expected to follow the example of those in the
United States and Europe and gradually switch from using iron
ore, to using scrap steel instead, as much more scrap becomes
available there. This means prospects for the ore industry as a
whole do not look as bright as a decade ago.
Another project on the drawing board for decades, is building
a 60km line aimed to allow trains destined for Santos to by-pass
the huge city of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest, rather than passing
right through the centre of the city in the dead of night, as many
This line is vital if a higher proportion of the 100mt of goods
embarked each from Santos, including large volume of soya,
maize, sugar and market pulp, are to reach there by train. But
this project too has fallen foul of the difficulties affecting the
construction companies contracted to build it. Several have
been found to have siphoned off large proportion of the funds
allocated for building a ring road around the city.
All in all, rarely has so little been spent by the government on
infrastructure projects as now. Private companies claim that
they must now devote 12% of all their spending on logistics,
rather than the previous 10%. This at a time when the demand
for most types of goods, as well as the prices which can be
charged for them have fallen.
The Port of Gdansk is ready to handle inland navigation
AN ACCOUNT OF
WATERWAYS INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE
Inland navigation, water economy, market potential, the state of port infrastructure adapted to handle inland navigation, and chances of increasing the competitiveness of the Polish economy through the integration of international waterways into international transport corridors were just several of the topics discussed in mid-June in Warsaw during the Waterways International Exhibition and Conference.
Just like two years ago, the event attracted a number of representatives of government and regional authorities, as well as companies for which inland navigation is a mode of transport with a high potential for growth, providing prospects for increasing the competitiveness of the Polish economy.
It is no different for the Port of Gdansk — a partner of the Waterways conference, for which inland navigation and activation of the Wisla River for water transport is an important issue. Today, goods transported into and out of the port mean several thousand of lorries and freight train cars a year encountering modernized infrastructure — which, however, has its limitations. Taking into consideration the predicted further intensive growth in the annual volume of goods passing through the port’s quays, predicted in the port’s strategy, which may reach a level of up to 100 million tonnes by 2030, the need to activate inland transport may become inevitable within the next dozen or so years.
Such changes in the structure of participation of individual modes of transport in the handling of goods are also mentioned in the White Paper, which states that by 2030, 30% of road transport of goods at distances longer than 300km should be transferred to different means of transport, e.g. rail or water transport, and that by 2050, this level should increase to 50% of that type of transport.
As Ryszard Mazur, Head of the Strategy and Development Department of the Port of Gdansk Authority SA emphasized on the second day of the conference during a discussion panel dedicated to ports and the potential of inland navigation, among others, the Port of Gdansk is now truly ready to handle goods transported via inland navigation. It has the appropriate quay infrastructure, and considering its location right at the mouth of the largest Polish river, deliberately avoiding the use of such a convenient location would be unreasonable. The current share of inland navigation in Gdansk is minimal, and this shows that the potential for development for this mode of transport is huge.
Inland navigation also presents a chance to activate the role of Poland as a transit country for cargo travelling to/from its neighbouring countries, including Belarus, Ukraine or Gdansk’s southern neighbours, which constitutes a part of the proposals included in the Port of Gdansk’s development strategy.
The three-day conference and its accompanying exhibition attracted a considerable group of entrepreneurs to the port’s stand, including both domestic and foreign visitors interested in the opportunities of handling cargo in Gdansk as part of inland navigation, which also serves as proof of the sector’s strong interest in this mode of transport. The Port of Gdansk’s stand was also visited by eminent guests, such as Marek Grobarczyk, the event’s Honorary Patron, Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, Jerzy Materna, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation and Dorota Arciszewska-Mielewczyk, Chairperson of the Sejm’s Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation Committee.
Moreover, the Waterways conference showed that the activation of Polish rivers is not just a transport-related issue — it also concerns the issues of the country’s flood safety, the possibilities for development of our native manufacturing technologies for the reconstruction and modernization of the inland fleet, and the activation of inland water tourism.
The three-day debates as part of the 2016 Waterways event were concluded on Saturday, 18 June. Another edition is coming next year, and the Port of Gdansk will certainly be there, too.
WSS launches canal transit offer
Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) is moving to ensure that its customers’ vessels pass through the new Panama and Suez Canals with the optimum efficiency, speed and safety thanks to a fresh Ships Agency ‘canal transit’ solution. The service, which will be run by dedicated local teams, has already picked up its first contract, securing an agreement with leading very large gas carrier (VLGC) owner and operator Avance Gas for the Panama Canal transit of its neo-Panamax ships Passat and Breeze.
WSS, the leading global provider of products and services to the shipping industry, has created 24/7 Transit Desks in both Panama and Egypt. These combine local knowledge with global support and service standards, arranging all permits, payments, rebates (where applicable), handling PDA/RDA/FDA needs, giving regulatory advice, and delivering further support services, including husbandry. In addition,WSS can supply vessels with their extensive range of marine products and chemicals during transits.
The concept, according to Steffen Langlete, Product Manager, Ships Agency WSS, is a simple one.
“We’re answering market demand with a service that will help our customers maximize the potential of these exciting new shipping infrastructure projects,” he explains. “Both of these expansion programmes have the potential to deliver huge time, capacity and cost efficiencies for shipowners and operators, but only if their transits are problem free.
“Our local expert ships agency staff are effectively taking the administration and transit support concerns off their hands, leaving them with peace of mind and an ability to focus on what’s most important to them — a safe and efficient passage for their vessels and crew.”
Langlete continues:“Though it’s unlikely the expansions will in fact cause congestion and lengthy delays as some have suggested, it is nevertheless a real advantage for our customers to have someone on hand that knows the authorities, the real-time weather and transit conditions, and the language. We are effectively their eyes and ears on the ground.”
The first ships to take advantage of the offer are the two 83,000 CMB VLGCs from Avance Gas. Passat and Breeze passed through the new canal — which should double the capacity of the existing waterway, with two new sets of locks and deeper, wider shipping channels — in the last week of June. The canal itself opened on 26 June as the neo-Panamax vessel COSCO Shipping Panama made its inaugural passage.
Speaking about the on-going agreement with Avance, which will see a number of additional vessels from their 14-strong VLGC fleet transit the canal with assistance from WSS, Langlete adds: “WSS Agency has a strong relationship with Avance, which appreciates our global network and standardized high quality services for its diverse international fleet.
“We understand their needs and they understand the benefits of our integrated service, products and expert staff. We’re delighted that they’re the first customer to take advantage of this brand new service and look forward to many more canal transits with them, and our other valued clients, in the future.”
The Panama Canal Expansion Programme is the largest development project to take place on the waterway since its opening in 1914. Egypt’s new Suez Canal expansion opened in August 2015, cutting vessel waiting time from 11 hours to three hours and potentially doubling the number of daily transits.
The WSS Transit Desks are now open to provide support and advice to the global market 24/7 365 days a year. Both have attained ISO 9001 Quality Management certification.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service is part of Wilhelmsen Maritime Services, a Wilh. Wilhelmsen group company. It has the world’s largest maritime services network, with 4,500 marine professionals servicing 2,200 ports in 125 countries. Wilhelmsen Ships Service supplies safety products and services, Unitor products, Unicool refrigerants, Unitor and Nalfleet marine chemicals, maritime logistics and ships agency to the maritime industry. Last year the company made product deliveries to 25,000 vessels and handled 70,000 port calls. D