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Ponta Delgada ,  January 29, 2020

Regional Government works to improve maritime cargo transport system, says Ana Cunha

The Regional Secretary for Transport and Public Works stated that the Regional Government  “has been working on the reduction of the global costs of the maritime system, the reduction of delivery times in export markets, the consolidation of the maritime transport of goods at regional level and on the optimisation of the maritime transport of goods to and from the Azores.”
These efforts “are possible with the creation and improvement of the necessary infrastructures,” stressed Ana Cunha, who spoke Tuesday on behalf of the President of the Government at the opening of the Transinsular Logistics Centre in Ponta Delgada.
In her speech, the Regional Secretary pointed out the example of port works "carried out in recent years on all islands of the Azores, along with the ongoing investments."
The Secretary for Transport specifically mentioned the “significant investment in the Ponta Delgada Porta, through the reprofiling of the -10m piers, the repaving of the port embankment, the upgrading of the technical networks and the dredging of the port basin.”
"We are talking about a contract work already awarded, whose investment exceeds 38 million Euros. It will improve the operating conditions of this port, providing an adequate response to what is expected to be its growth for the next decade and a half,” stressed the government official. In addition to the quay and the dredging of the manoeuvring basin, “this work will considerably expand the embankment area for containers, increasing the port's container handling capacity by 40%.”
For the Regional Secretary, “this is a fundamental work, combined with the investment in mobile equipment, such as the acquisition of four reachstacker forklifts, an investment of 1.6 million Euros whose procedure should be launched during this first quarter. Moreover, she mentioned the acquisition of five 3.5-tonne forklifts, a procedure to be launched also during this first quarter of 2020 for the amount of 200 thousand Euros, the acquisition of a telescopic forklift, a procedure expected to be launched during the second quarter of this year in an investment of 240 thousand Euros, and also the acquisition of two 33-tonne forklifts, whose procedure should be launched by the end of this year in an investment of 640 thousand Euros.”
Ana Cunha also recalled that, since January 20, “the container handling capacity at the Ponta Delgada Port has been reinforced with the arrival of two 45-tonne reachstacker stackers, which will operate in this port on a rental basis until the acquisition of the two new machines."
"Hence, the Regional Government continues to undertake the necessary efforts to provide regional port infrastructures with operating conditions that will provide an effective response to the demands that are increasing on a daily basis," said the government official. In this regard, she recalled that, from the outset, “we are facing a complex and lengthy process that will lead to the reconstruction of Lajes das Flores Port, completely destroyed by Hurricane Lorenzo.”
"We are already working on a long-term solution and I am referring to the contract work for the reconstruction of the jetty, which are definitive works with a lifespan set at 50 years, according to the recommendations for maritime works," said Ana Cunha. According to her, “it will not be a quick process, it will take time as we are aware, but the slowness and complexity of this process do not discourage us: they challenge us.”
For now, and immediately, "it becomes necessary to proceed with the intermediate protection work, i.e., the emergency protection of that port, whose proposals have already been presented and are currently under analysis," said the Regional Secretary. This works fulfils "the Regional Government's commitment to immediately proceed with the protection of the existing infrastructure in order to guarantee, albeit in a conditioned manner, the supply by sea." It will reinforce the protection of the port embankment and the -5m quay of Lajes Port, “ensuring the necessary operating conditions, particularly for the supply to the island, which is being carried out by the vessel Malena.”
Ana Cunha noted that "the Regional Government, together with the three local shipowners and also with Transinsular, has undertaken all efforts that have led to the chartering of the vessel Malena."
“In an expeditious solution for complex problem, the Regional Government bears the vessel mobilisation costs and it was agreed that the charter costs would be equally shared by the Regional Government (50%) and by local shipowners (50%).” Furthermore, it was also possible, “due the unforeseen circumstances of this operation, to exempt the vessel from port rates on Flores and mooring rates at Ponta Delgada Port,” stressed the government official.
"These were the solutions found together with the private entities, that is, with local traffic, which has not shirked its responsibilities," stressed Ana Cunha.
However, the Regional Secretary recalled that it is necessary to "bear in mind that the problems are yet to be overcome."
"We are in the middle of a winter that has been harsh and we will certainly still face adverse conditions ahead of us, which will have to be overcome without ever neglecting the safety of those who operate at sea," said Ana Cunha.
In this regard, she noted that the Regional Government has private partners "that are always available to do whatever they can in this endeavour that lies ahead of us."
“We will do our best.  We will continue to do everything within our reach in an effort that unites the public and the private spheres towards the defence of a common good: the well-being of all those who live on our islands and the development of our Region,” stressed Ana Cunha.
The Regional Secretary also highlighted the strategic vision of the ETE Group and Transinsular, “which have resulted in this investment" now opened, adding that this Logistics Centre “will ensure Transinsular more efficiency and speed in receiving and transporting cargo, which will contribute to an even faster and more reliable inter-island maritime transport."


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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