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Horta ,  June 17, 2015

Vessel for route S.Miguel/Santa Maria would be "out of context in the global integrated solution for regional maritime transport," said Vítor Fraga

The Regional Secretary for Tourism and Transport stated in Horta that the proposal submitted by PCP regarding the acquisition of a vessel for the transport of passengers, vehicles and cargo to operate in the route S. Miguel/Santa Maria on a regular basis does not fit into the global integrated solution for regional maritime transport.

Furthermore, this solution is costly solution and is out of context in terms of passenger transport in the Eastern Group, which is mainly seasonal.

In his speech delivered Tuesday at the Legislative Assembly, Vítor Fraga stated the Regional Government considers that the maritime transport of passengers and vehicles is crucial for the Region. However, its importance should be regarded in a perspective of "global integration of the transport sector" in the archipelago, which is achieved by integrating several existing subsystems, with special emphasis on local traffic."

In this context, the government official stressed that the proposal of PCP is not complementary and competes directly with the transport services operated by private entities, including the company that transports cargo between São Miguel and Santa Maria.

"The Regional Government considers that the regional maritime transport sector cannot be developed with individual measures like this one. In fact, it should be done in a global perspective," Vítor Fraga said, noting that the maritime links between S. Miguel and Santa Maria are not called into question.

"In context of the acquisition of two new vessels for the development of maritime traffic in the archipelago, Santa Maria is part of the system and will be served regularly, both in terms of passenger and cargo transport on a roll on/roll off system. Hence, this solution works as a supplement to the supply already available," said the Regional Secretary.

Mentioning the statistics and the current supply in the maritime links to Santa Maria, the Regional Secretary stressed that 80% of passenger traffic is registered in the months of July and August, which clearly demonstrates the seasonal nature of passenger transport operations on this route.

"Our goal is to mitigate the effects of seasonality and we expect to increase the demand in the future in order to revitalise this route," added the government official.
Vítor Fraga also stressed that, in order to ensure the comfort of passengers in a journey between São Miguel and Santa Maria, we would need to purchase a vessel of a certain size; otherwise it would not be appealing to passengers.

"One does not take long to realise that if we need two vessels for the transport of passengers between all islands, the purchase of another vessel would further increase costs," said Vítor Fraga.

"We would be duplicating resources to accomplish the goal towards inter-island maritime transport, with two clear objectives: increase mobility of the Azores and ensure the development of the internal market," added the government official.
Vítor Fraga reminded that it is not the first time that this proposal is presented to the Parliament, stressing that the initiative of PCP "is a copy of what was presented in 2013 and there was not even an update of passenger traffic statistics."

"This proposal is out of context and will neither contribute to the improvement of maritime transport, nor to the revitalisation of the internal market, nor the good management of public resources," said Vítor Fraga.


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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