In March 2017 my family in the Netherlands sent me this picture of March 28th when a Memo of Understanding was signed between the Port of Rotterdam and the General Ports Administration (A.G.P.) of Argentina, while the King and Queen of the Netherlands, together with President Macri and his wife were watching the ceremony.
A better picture is available in Port of Rotterdam or A.G.P. in Buenos Aires.
At that moment I had great hopes that Argentina would finally put an end to 70 years of LACK OF PORT-POLICIES and TRANSPORT POLICIES (which go hand in hand).
But now I have to begin this long, but very important entry, which is the most difficult one I ever made in this website, because I am a Dutchman.
To begin this, I would like to invite you to have a quick “look” at my entry of October 23rd: The Argentine crisis began on December 14th , 2017 when a "Pension reform" was discussed in the Argentine Congress, which caused serious incidents inside and outside Congress.
From that moment the crisis deepened and at the end of August pre-occupying articles began to appear in the newspapers that indicated a serious aggravation.
And then go “scrollingg” quickly till THE CRISIS IN ARGENTINA AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MODERNIZATION PLAN OF THE PORT OF BUENOS AIRES. After having done so, you will have a good idea of my “worries”, and then please come back to this part. Those who have read this website know some of my experiences between 1978 and 1998, when I attended three short classes in TEMPO, the International Consultancy and Training Department of the Rotterdam Municipal Port Management, when it still was a port of the Municipality.
TEMPO was created by A GREAT MAN. Mr. Henk Molenaar, the President of the Rotterdam Municipal Port Management, who made the MASTER PLAN FOR THE PORT OF ROTTERDAM IN 1978, with “MAASVLAKTE ONE”, WHICH STILL IS THE BASE FOR THE POLICIES of the most important port of Europe.
He convinced the Municipal Port Management of Rotterdam to create a “CHEAP AND EFFICIENT school for developing countries”, reasoning that if the Port of Rotterdam wished to send containers to, or receive them from developing countries, they should help them to start on the right track.That is the reason that many “Port-authorities” learned their lessons in TEMPO of the Port of Rotterdam. With advisers of the Port of Rotterdam (PoR) like I knew in those years between 1978 and 1998, I felt sure that the Port of Buenos Aires was entering a phase of great development.
However this has not been the case and I feel obliged to give the following information.Soon after March 28th 2017, Mr. Mortola, (the “trustee” of A.G.P. who signed the MoU) started with the propaganda that the Port of Rotterdam would join the group of advisers who already assisted him. (Those of the Ports of Valencia and Barcelona).
According to his publications, this new assistance would be “free of charge”! But this was a serious misunderstanding and in the first meeting with the Port of Rotterdam he was informed that this was not “free of charge”.
Never any information was given about the scope of the contract between PoR and A.G.P.
On many occasions, Mr.Mortola declared that the PoR were his principal advisors.
He also did so in a meeting with the “CONSEJO DE CARGADORS”, on June 7th 2018 where he explained his plan of modernization for the port of B.A., with a price-tag of over a billion US dollars.
On that occasion I made 2 written questions, at the invitation of the CONSEJO, which you can open at the end.
In short, the questions were if the Port of Rotterdam had agreed with the high investment and if estimates had been made how much of this would be for account of the Argentine State and what would be for the account of the new concessionaire.
He just answered with one word YES and some strange remarks so that people in the audience could understand that he did not pay much attention to the written questions in which a written answer was required.
The written answer was never given.
This was a reason for me to write a letter to Mr. André van der Plas of the Port of Rotterdam and ask him if I was true what Mr.Mortola had answered on June 7th that the PoR agreed with his plan of over a billion dollars.
He answered that PoR could not give information.
As you can see in the entry A REPORT OF THE A.G.P.-CONFERENCE OF SEPTEMBER 20TH :¨PUERTO BUENOS AIRES-PUERTO COMPETITIVO”, Mr. Lopez Saubidet, a Director of A.G.P., declared that the PLAN FOR MODERNIZATION OF THE PORT OF BUENOS AIRES, was made ONLY WITH THE ADVISE OF THE PORT OF VALENCIA.
Therefore I repeated my question to Mr. Van der Plas.
Again he told me that PoR could not give information and why this was so.
From this I could understand that the PoR have advised from a strategic commercial perspective and that it is up to the port itself to what extent it uses the insights, reflections and analyzes that they have provided as input for its plans.
Those who are really interested in this sad history, should see the powerpoint presentation I made on 28.10.2016 in the yearly seminar of Ports, Waterways, Multimodal Transport and Foreign Trade Open here.
The 2 written questions in Spanish I made on June 7th 2018, at the invitation of the CONSEJO, can be opened here.
On Thursday, October 25, I read the article by Alejandro López, Manager of Intermodal Logistics of Hamburg-Sued in La Nación: "The Port of Buenos Aires must necessarily be redefined" (https://www.lanacion.com.ar/2184961).
I made a comment to this good article.
And on Friday 26 I received 2 articles from the “Port Portal of Chile”, with information from the third Multisectorial Meeting of the Argentine Port Council (CPA).
I believe that the "introduction to the subject" of this Chilean report is broader than the report of the C.P.A.
What things of those 3 publications are so important?
And why do I think these articles deserve so much attention?
Because they reinforce without any doubt and in a forceful way that the country needs several well organized Round Tables!!!
And those Roundtables should start with one on the Modernization Plan of the Port of Buenos Aires, which is a clear case where you can CHECK THE FAILURES OF OUR SYSTEMS.
There are two reasons:1st) Because for the first time in an event of this kind, good attention was paid to the complete "Logistics Chain"/Supply Chain. (It was in the panel "Building the value chain in the Port Community") 2nd) In a logistic chain there are many "opposite" interests and only with a honest and serious examination of these particular interests, can the general interest be found. AND IF WE WANT TO GET A COMPETITIVE COUNTRY, WE MUST SEEK THE GENERAL INTEREST. In this way the rights of 44 million Argentines are defended.
And this is a responsibility of THE AUTHORITIES, both the executive power and the legislative branch, which must make the laws for an efficient transport.
These points should not only be analyzed in round tables: THEY SHOULD ALSO BE ANALYZED BY CONGRESS, WHICH MUST BE AWARE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF TRANSPORTATION LAWS, WHICH ARE NECESSARY FOR AN EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION. AND TO HAVE AN EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION, INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION MUST BE APPLIED, a topic that touched Mr. Alejandro Lopez.
It is a shame for a country the size of Argentina, with its rivers and railways, that 93% of cargoes go by truck, many on roads parallel to waterways and railways. This proves that Argentina does not take advantage of the existing system.
No enormous plans to repair 1.700 km are needed, plans must be made to go step by step, integrating systems that can be repaired in short terms.
And the Atlantic Ocean and the EXCELLENT River "Paraguay-Paraná" and the Uruguay River are important navigable waterways.And the broad gauge railway system, which is 20% of the total, is in acceptable conditions of use. On this topic you can find many PPTs on this website, which should be viewed in conjunction with this article. But how to organize a "Round Table" (R.T) and who are responsible TO PREPARE THE PARTICIPANTS? It is the responsibility of all the business chambers, which participate in the logistic chains, that each ONE defends WITH RESPONSIBILITY, ITS PARTICULAR interest.
And for this each chamber must prepare its representative for that Round Table and ensure that he has sufficient knowledge of the COMPLETE operation of the Logistics Chain (C.L. or Supply Chain).And for an "International Supply Chain”, where Maritime transport in Argenina participates in more than 80%, UNCTAD schemes must be applied, which “chart” the Logistics Chains.
There are several examples in this blog.Many talk about the big expenses for our exporters and that they would pay huge sums to foreign fleets to do the sea transport.
But the representatives of the "authorities" in the "Round Table" should know that Maritime Transport is still basically governed by an International Convention, the Hague Rules of 1924.And the representatives of the "Cargo" will know that our international trade is still governed basically by the conditions of the old Inco-terms: "CIF" and "FOB", which were made on those old “Hague Rules of 1924. And that we buy "CIF" and sell "FOB".
That is to say that the maritime transport is almost entirely contracted and paid by the foreigners who sell us and buy our products.
And although much of the cost of shipping is reflected in the price the producer receives (and what the consumer pays), it is not something that the producer pays and can directly control.And the importance of Customs, which is mentioned, requires more attention: It seems that an observation published in the 90s by UNCTAD, was written for Argentina: that a port can offer the best service at the best price and that, despite this, the cargo goes to the port of a neighboring country because of the "difficulties" presented by Customs.
In the prologue of my first book of 1984 on "use of containers", I wrote that it was also intended for the Customs officers who had to make the customs rules.
Now 34 years later we see in these articles that several points did not receive attention.
I do not to wish to waste your time and will make new entry in parts, step by step.
Nobody wants to read more than 15 minutes in this modern world.
In my next entry I will publish a Power-point presentation of 2017 in C.P.A.U., the Professional Council of Architechture and Urbanisation, which is interested in the relation PORT AND CITY.
Those who are truly interested, could already search it in this site.
This Plan deserves a debate to compare it with the monster-plan of A.G.P.
Today I received two notes from PortalPortuario.cl (the main specialized media of the port industry in Chile), which are very important for our country.
The first, of October 23rd , with the information that the Argentine Port Council held its III Multisectorial Meeting, with many participants, who made very important statements, which all should be read.
For the first time, as far as is publicly known, there were many real STAKEHOLDERS THAT WERE INVITED TO EXPRESS THEIR OPINIONS IN A DEBATE IN AN OFICIAL ENTITY.
Some were excellent, but in some cases were only expressions of wishes, which need more action.But the most important information can be read in the second message of October 25th , with data that emerged during the panel "Building the value chain in the Port Community".
In this panel the vision of the port authority, the generators of cargo and a shipping company discussed the situation of the Tecplata Terminal.
There you can read important statements that do not appear normally in our press:
For instance: The formation and strengthening of shipping alliances are a factor that would be preventing the activation of TecPlata in the Port of La Plata.
Representatives of the Port of La Plata and an important liner company, Cosco Shipping, discussed why Tecplata, since its inauguration in 2015, has not had any movement , despite being - 100 thousand dollars-!!! cheaper per call for the liner company than the Port of Buenos Aires.
At the table, moderated by the renowned Argentine journalist, Emiliano Galli, José María Dodds, president of the Management Consortium of the Port of La Plata, said that "to the lines, I understand the business situation that there is a drop in the level of cargo of containers, but I also tell you that when a port makes an economic offer that means $ 100,000 less to enter, and do not take it, let's not talk about port costs. That proposal I have made, I know the number, it is 100 to 120 thousand dollars and still they do not come..."
BUT THERE WAS MUCH MORE!
In short, what was done in this excellent meeting of the Port Council, is the clearest PROOF OF WHAT THE COUNTRY still needs:
THE PROOF THAT THE COUNTRY MUST FOLLOW THE EXAMPLES OF CHILE AND MAKE A ROUND TABLE, WELL FORMED AND WELL ORGANIZED, as Mr. Olaf Merk tried to organize on April 10 and 11, 2017 at the S.S.P. and V.N.
See also: O.E.C.D./I.T.F Discusion paper:
The container-port of Buenos Aires in the Mega-Ship era.
More in my blog next Monday or Tuesday, Antonio
The Argentine crisis began on December 14, 2017 when a "Pension reform" was discussed in the Argentine Congress, which caused serious incidents inside and outside Congress.
From that moment the crisis deepened and at the end of August pre-occupying articles began to appear in the newspapers that indicated a serious aggravation.
One of the indications was an article of August 22nd with the title: "Tomorrow is the D day in the conflict of Puerto Nuevo". (The Port of Buenos Aires)
It was a threat from the port-labor-unions that soon they would begin with stoppages in all the ports of the country in protest against the unfulfilled promises of the A.G.P. to inform the unions about the progress of the MODERNIZATION PLAN of the PORT OF Buenos Aires.
But happily the Government realized that the CLAIM was FAIR and instead of A.G.P. the Ministry of Labor took the reins in the meeting and clarified important points that the A.G.P. had left in the “fog”.
From that day I have regularly written articles on this blog with information which I consider important.
I sincerely believe that those who really have an interest in what is done in questions of TRANSPORTATION POLICIES and TRANSPORTATION PLANS AND PORTS, should read them.
Yesterday I published the last article in this series, which I will continue until I receive an indication that this has reached the authorities or the CONGRESS.
So far I have only received a serious insult, which can also be seen in the article of October 1 in this blog.
It has the following 3 points:
1) ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE TENDERING-PROCESS OF THE MODERNIZATION PLAN OF THE PORT OF B.A. (DECREE 870/2018, PUBLISHED FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 28TH IN THE “OFFICIAL BULLETIN OF THE ARGENTINEAN REPUBLIC).
2) OBSERVATIONS TO THIS "PLAN", WITH SOME VERY IMPORTANT POINTS, BUT KNOWN BY FEW PERSONS. THEREFORE I PUBLISHED THEM IN "FACEBOOKS".
3) AN EMAIL TO MR. GONZALO MORTOLA WITH THE TEXT OF THE OBSERVATIONS AND HIS ANSWER.(INSTEAD OF GIVING AN EXPLANATION WHY A.G.P. DOES NOT ACCEPT A DEBATE, MR. MORTOLA ANSWERED WITH AN INSULT).
That is why I have sent letters to managers of the Port of Rotterdam, requesting their answers to some questions.
One of these questions is in the important entry of October 17TH (modified) with a letter to Mr. Carlos Zepeda, a Mexican national, who is a business analyst at the Port of Rotterdam.
This letter has to do with "some praise" of mister Zepeda for the PLAN FOR MODERNIZATION OF THE PORT OF BUENOS AIRES, whilst on October 3rd O.E.C.D./ I.T.F. wrote an article: "The Container Port of B.A. in the Mega-Ship Era", objecting this "Plan".
O.E.C.D./ I.T.F. clearly warns that this "Plan" with a tender for 35 years, in fact is only a solution for a short period.
I also believe that the entities that have the responsibility to defend the interests of the “SHIPPERS”, (“Beneficial Cargo Owners”) must PARTICIPATE IN THIS, because this way they defend the rights of 44 million Argentines, who in the end have the same interests.
Round-table Conference Buenos Aires , Argentina , 10 - 11 April 2017.
This very important report was published in Argentina on October 3rd, 2018, and is attracting much interest.
I made a comment which you can find in the Spanish text of this blog
But it is good to remind a very long entry I made on April 15th, 2017:
Lessons to be learned from the “FAILED OECD “Round Table Conference”.
Now a year and a half later, with the country in a deep crisis, I wish to make a short recapitulation and pose the question: If this suggestion of OECD would have been followed correctly, would Argentina be in this CRISIS? Did the FAILED OECD “Round Table Conference” show SHORTCOMINGS IN PLANNING?
The idea was to follow the examples of Chilean “Round Table Conferences” held in 2013 for the Port-plans of Valparaiso and San Antonio.
OECD strictly followed the examples, bringing recognized experts to the meeting.But the Argentine part, which was arranged by the Undersecretary of Ports and Waterways, only invited a few local employees of the terminal operators (concessionaires) and one engineer who had participated in the “think-tank” of PRO, the political party of President Macri.
This “think-tank” had made a Plan for the Port of B.A., which he presented in the R.T. Conference. NO ATTENTION WAS PAID AT ALL TO THIS PRESENTATION.
(In other parts of this blog you can find the difficult situation of the Undersecretary in the article: What lessons can be learned from the failed initiative of the Undersecretary of Ports and Waterways to form his Consultative Council?
Without any doubt, these are clear indications that there were severe short-comings in PLANNING.
Lessons to be learned from the “FAILED OECD “Round Table Conference” open here.
which Mr. Mortola sent to Antonio Zuidwijk on September 29th and which was widely circulated, with the words that he Mr. Mortola, “Personally was very sorry that people like you (=Antonio Zuidwijk) have ever had interference in the Argentine port community, leaving this state of “decidía,(sic),(desidia=negligence),abandonment and systematic corruption, he sent me the following text, inviting me to publish this in this blog:
If Mr Mortola or anyone else alleges Mr Antonio Zuidwijk to be corrupt, this would (have to) backfire on those concerned. Especially for the slanderer himself.The reason for this is, that if indeed he was or is corrupt, Mr.Mortola did not need to fear mr. Zuidwijk´s on-going resistance to and rejection of Mr.Mortola´s development plans for the maritime industry of Argentina.
Captain Manfred Menzel
3rd Oct. 2018
Captain Menzel was in charge of the Buenos Aires port master plan of 1986. He was the inventor of the method for private sector engagements in ports and affiliated industries. Since 1980, he and his team have successfully implemented this in 112 ports and affiliated industries around the globe. Others have followed suit globally. He fails to understand why these proven technologies are not applied in Argentina. Probably Mr Mortola knows and may wish to let the maritime world know?
El sábado, 29 de septiembre de 2018 16:30:27 ART, Gonzalo Mórtola escribió: Personalmente lamento mucho que personas como usted hayan tenido alguna vez injerencia en la comunidad portuaria Argentina, dejando este estado de decidía, abandono y corrupción sistemático. También lamentó que personas como Ud. A la que solo le importa que su nombre esté estampado en alguna dársena se crea dueño de la razón. Por último, lamentó que no se haya dado cuenta que los tiempos cambiaron y que sus ideas vetustas, prehistóricas y en su gran mayoría falaces invadan mediante Spam las casillas de mail de muchos usuarios que seguramente por respeto o “lastima” no le respondan. Por favor, como ya se lo solicité en su momento, no me envíe mas mails ya que los considero malisiosos, atemporales y con proyectos e ideas que ya le hicieron mucho mal a la historia portuaria Argentina. Muchas gracias. Gonzalo Mórtola
When I learned on September 13th that R. Lopez Saubidet was going to make a “public conference” about THE PLAN FOR MODERNIZATION OF THE PORT OF B.A., I commenced my preparation to make the two allowed questions.
I immediately started writing some preliminary notes for several people representing the "stakeholders", the "participants who have interests in the efficient functioning” of the Port of Buenos Aires.
My idea was to lead the way why I intended to pose the question, if the sheer amount of the investment of their plan alone, was not sufficient reason to REQUEST an OPEN DEBATE.
And as a second question, what A.G.P. had done with the results of a “Working Group of the PRO FOUNDATION”, the so-called “think-tank” of presidential–candidate Mauricio Macri, that acted between 2011 and 2015.
I started a to send a series of notes to some of them, reminding them of interchanges of messages we had had with some of them in the last months of 2015, with the expectations of the new government.
I received very few confirmations of rerceipt I had asked for and only a few replies.
But those few replies were not what I had expected.
All had an attitude which is very common: they adviced me to stop trying to start a debate, because the authorities would not pay any attention.
Therefore I sent this last note to them:
This message does not have any political color,
I think that in ARGENTINA...
Within this scenario, I have been working since December 2015 to ask for public attention on transport issues and ports.
The title created the impression, that this presentation would have a summary related to the competition that other ports in the region will offer to the Port of Buenos Aires, and what reasons exist to affirm that this will be a competitive port.
In my opinion, this was not the case.
For instance: Mr. López Saubidet declared that the new port will be "intermodal", which would be one of its great advantages.
But I wonder how will this be possible, considering that rail access has an area of about 70 km around the port, where passenger transport has a very high priority. This old system only allows convoys of 600 meters, which is not efficient.
To the north of the port of Zarate the system allows convoys of 1,100 meters, which is much more productive. (A system with the highest global efficiency is that of U.S. ports where convoys are used with double-stacked containers and several kilometers long).
The next “obstacle”: How will the problem of the shanty-town (Villa 31) be solved?
There is only one track and for the clearance of that single track, several years were necessary.
And how will the rail system be like in the "new port"?
On the other hand, there was no mention of competing ports, which go from the foreign ports of Santos, Itajai / Itapoa, Rio Grande do Sul, Montevideo, to the ports of La Plata, the "South Dock", Zárate, Rosario and other river ports (which in the future may have more efficient supply-chains via Montevideo).
And, in this competition, there is something very important:
The Access channels to the Port of Buenos Aires and South Dock (Exolgan) are more than 220 km long, while within 2 or 3 years the Port of Montevideo will allow a 14 m draft, with a very short channel.
Dredging maintenance costs and costs of pilotage weigh heavily on the final account and have a lot to do with COMPETITIVENESS.
In general, there is very much “talk” in our country about the fact that ports should have deeper accesses. However, this is a matter of calculating costs and estimating the benefits.
There are many examples of ports in the world that chose not to make the huge expenses and let their ports fall to the category of "feeder-port". And they did well.
And on the other hand, there are many who made huge projects in which much money was wasted because after a few years the shipowners did not use their port anymore, although they had access.
This time I have made an entry in this blog, which is intended to be a place of analysis of matters related with TRANSPORT AND PORTS.
This time I feel obliged to write about the concept “GRIETA” or "CRACK", a word that is omnipresent in Argentina in all explanations about social facts of the Argentines.
In the mass media, family birthdays, messages with school friends, etc.
Most opinion makers use this gimmicky device to explain their “opinions” of all events that have to do with “politics”.
The word “crack” is always mentioned in “Mobilizations”, Strikes, Public Debates and cultural expressions.
After watching one of the six hours long televisión-programs during the afternoons of Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th of september, I decided to write a VERY RARE NOTE IN THIS BLOG:
I WISH TO INVITE THE INHABITANTS OF THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, to think about what is said and written about ARGENTINA and Argentines in the world.
Some of those things are very nice, others are going to receive many critics of my readers, but there are psychiatrists who recommend reading it as a very necessary "remedy" in these days of convulsion and chaos.
In the first place, that Argentina is a BEAUTIFUL country that has all the potential to be one of the best countries of the planet, which has the capacity to feed 5 times (or much more) of the number of people living in the country, with a climate that is good, with people of a high degree of intelligence.
This is so, if we remember that until the middle of the 50s it had an education system that served as an example of the 6 countries that began to form the European Union.
At that time it was predicted that within a decade, Argentina would be among the top 10 economies in the world.
Many Argentines who emigrated, reached positions of high categories in countries of the so-called first world.
Argentina is a country that has no racial or religious problems, which put many of those countries in danger.
Now the ugly part, which many will not like:
In the sixties, the Japanese had a joke, which said that some of them complained to God when he started creating the world, because he had given everything to Argentina and little to Japan.
To these "complainers" he replied, YES BUT I STILL DID NOT PUT PEOPLE.
Not long ago, in another country, Spain, there was talk of the EGO of Argentines, saying that an Argentine who wants to commit suicide, climbs to the top of his EGO and then throws himself down.
And another thing that also deserves attention, are jokes in Peru that told the poor that they should go to Argentina, because there they were immediately given homes in what they called "pueblos jovenes"(shanty towns).
Returning to one of the programs of Maxi Montenegro on Tuesday:
In several of the debates, with different political opinions, where everyone wants to talk and no one listens, Maxi intervened very correctly.
That's why I sent him a tweet, advising him to summarize the main parts of that program.
First he had to inform the viewers something of the "best" participants and then show his correct interventions in his program, always leaving the identifications on the screen, so that people can understand well what it was all about.
Then I watched another program, where the same thing happened, until there was a very short but excellent intervention by Mr. Hugo Perico Perez, a well-known ex-soccer player.
For this intervention I put an entry in my Facebook:
The country needs more people like Mr. Hugo Perico Perez, who participated with a clear CLAIM to THE JOURNALISTS OF ALL THOSE PROGRAMS, THAT ALL THOSE PROGRAMS MUST HAVE THE MAIN OBJECTIVE TO FIND WAYS TO CLOSE THE CRACK.
YOU MUST CLOSE THE CRACK IF YOU WANT TO SAVE THE COUNTRY. Antonio Zuidwijk
This immediately received this comment:
Juan Carlos Fusero Very good your comment Antonio.
And this gave me the courage to continue with the topic:
Now I ask all my contacts that they try to form an action on all possible Facebooks, to start something like was done in another occasion, which managed to organize a similar public claim in the Plaza de May not long ago.
It is unfortunate that there are still opportunists in ALL POLITICAL PARTIES, WHO TRY TO “BRING WATER TO THEIR OWN MILLS”.
THEY SHOULD STOP TRYING TO TAKE WATER ONLY TO THEIR OWN MILL.
ALL PARTIES ARE TO BLAME.
THEY SHOULD CLOSE THEIR MOUTHS FOR A WHILE AND FIRST SHOULD TRY TO FORM THE BASIS TO MAINTAIN GOVERNABILITY.
In this blog, www.antonioz.com.ar I have written a lot about this "Plan".
After the major changes which just have been announced by the aurhorities, some points should be brought to their attention.
In this note the main points have been reflected.
The epic of the M.V. "REPUBLICA ARGENTINA".
During the difficult voyage of the M.V."REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA", which is searching a safe port, it has encountered head-winds and storms.
And now it entered a HURRICANE, just at a time when the ship is in a sea full of rocks.
If the ship touches one of the rocks, it will sink.
What should a Captain do in this situation?Captain Macri who is in command of the ship "REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA" decided to request the assistance of a “PILOT”, to assist him in the navigation between the dangerous rocks.
Captain Macri has the full confidence only of a third of his crew, the complete distrust of another third party and the rest do not give their opinion, waiting for the results of how the captain is handling his ship in the hurricane.
It is those "undecided" who will decide with their vote if the Captain will continue in command on the next trip.
(In this real case they will decide if he will continue or not in 2019 as President, if he has the strength to continue the difficult task). Captain Macri decided to choose F.M.I as a pilot.But while the pilot was climbing to the bridge, he left the engines "FULL AHEAD", without a change course. This was a serious mistake.
The captain must lower the speed and must first put the pilot in touch with what is happening with his vessel, so that the pilot can give his advice.
It seems that he is doing this now.
Great changes are announced at this moment.
Now Captain Macri must do the SELF-CRITICS THAT HE ANNOUNCED BEFORE A "SPIRITUAL RETREAT" HE HAD PLANNED IN CHAPADMALAL, which was not fulfilled.
One area where he can probably find PROOF OF ERRORS committed in the 31 MONTHS OF HIS GOVERNMENT, is how the MODERNIZATION PLAN OF THE PORT OF BUENOS AIRES has been addressed.
Following advice from his cabinet, President Macri appointed Mr. G. Mortola as his "navigation officer". (Trustee of the General Administration of Ports, S.A.).
But, according to many experts on the subject, Mr. Mortola DOES NOT HAVE THE CERTIFICATES THAT THIS IMPORTANT POSITION REQUIRES.
There are several articles in www.tradenews.com.ar, and in a blog of the FOUNDATION OUR SEA”" www.nuestromar.org” which deserve to be read carefully.
In some comments you can find the evidence that since January 2016 serious mistakes have been made. Many know this, but few have brought this forward to public knowledge.
If Captain Macri wants to act as a good CAPTAIN, he should request his PILOT NOW WHAT HIS OPINION IS of this PLAN.
He should ask the F.M.I. to make an analysis of what is written in the articles of THIS BLOG, where problems of the MODERNIZATION PLAN OF THE PORT OF BUENOS AIRES are discussed.
It is a "PLAN" that has an estimated cost between US $ 1.000.000.000 and US$ 1.200.000.000.
In that PLAN much is spoken about the rights of 44 million inhabitants, to have a COMPETITIVE PORT.
But that seems absolutely IMPOSSIBLE with a PLAN OF MODERNIZATION WITH SUCH A TREMENDOUS COST, with the conditions that have been described.
The PLAN is of utmost importance for the COMPETITIVENESS OF THE COUNTRY and if errors are made again in the decisión, Argentina will continue to go around in the same mistakes that have been committed for 70 years, which are the fault of the present situation.The lack of open discussions of what our Logistics Chains require, are the underlying causes.
THIS IS A DIFFICULT TASK, WHICH NEEDS A PROPER STUDY. The country must form THE EXPERTS WHO IN THE FUTURE WILL DEFEND THE PRODUCERS AND CONSUMERS OF THE COUNTRY, IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE "LOGISTIC PLANS", SOMETHING THAT NEVER HAS BEEN DONE SO FAR.
THE PRODUCERS AND CONSUMERS OF THE COUNTRY WILL PAY THE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES IF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD INSIST WITH THIS PLAN.These new experts must participate ACTIVELY IN THE VERY NECESSARY DIALOGUE TIGHT FROM HE BEGINNING, AS WAS PROPOSED BY O.E.C.D. AT THE START OF
THE NEW GOVERNMENT.
THE PRESENT PLAN IS TOTALLY INFLEXIBLE.
NOW ALL THE PORTS OF THE WORLD MAKE FLEXIBLE PLANS, taking in account that there are many “UNKWONS" of HOW MARITIME TRANSPORTATION WILL BE in the coming years, after the 9 years long crisis period ends.
THIS AFFECTS THE WHOLE WORLD AND IS OF EXTREME IMPORTANCE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE PORT OF BUENOS AIRES.
And among the "minefields" that make the situation of this country so difficult, there are the problems WITH LABOUR-UNIONS that the PLAN generates.
There is also much to analyze in that PLAN, which is worth applying to many other government plans.PRIORITIES MUST BE FIXED where and how the little MONEY that is left, will be spent.
To those who have an interest in the subject, it is advisable to read in this website the article: WHAT LESSONS CAN BE LEARNED OF THE FAILED INITIATIVE OF THE EX-SUBSECRETARY OF PORTS J.METZ of January 2016 TO FORM HIS CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL?
I hope this suggestion will be accepted, as it is very likely that it is applicable in many cases.
My note about the crisis which Argentina is suffering once more,might have been avoided if instead of the easy and "optimistic way", a difficult way wpould have been chosen.
This idea was published in the newspaper LA NACION, when the new government just had started. The titel I had chosen was:A POSSIBLE PLAN FOR THE PORT OF BUENOS AIRES, which the editor changed to INTERMODAL TRANSPORT. THIS ARTICLE CAN BE OPENED HERE.
For this I wish to make this entry in the english part of my blog: My note to an politician , mr. Julio Barbaro who voted for Presidente Macri and now is disppointed.
Dear mr.Barbaro, I believe that EVERYONE SHOULD COOPERATE SO THAT PRESIDENT MACRI WILL BE ABLE TO FULFILL HIS TERM IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY. This will be for the benefit of all the inhabitants.
But already the first conflicts begin and the authorities react with speeches that they are on the right track, that there will be no more corruption, that the bids for infrastructure projects are now transparent, etc. There is no doubt that they think that this way they will win the elections.
But as you said Mr. Barbaro, THERE IS A LOT TO BE CORRECTED. This is what I am trying to make clear with this message. One of the problems that arises is A SERIOUS CONFLICT that has been generated by the Modernization Plan of the Port of B.A., As can be found in this blog, this Plan was first announced in January 2016 A.G.P.´s trustee, Gonzalo Mórtola. In my opinion, this issue is not within the scope of A.G.P., but of the Undersecretary of Ports and Waterways, which is the National Authority for the application of Law 24,093 on Port Activities.
There are many articles in this blog where I express my opinion that there are flaws in the transport policy and port-plans, which deserve attention.
In this announced meeting, where the authorities will meet with businessmen and the union that gathers the port workers, will define if this port conflict will start with serious strikes, which may stifle the economy, or if a finally agreement can be reached.
There are many EMPLOYERES of port-workers who know the problems, but I am very worried that NONE OF THEM REALIZES THAT EVERYONE WILL LOSE IF PRESIDENT MACRI IS NOT WARNED WHERE THESE REAL PROBLEMS ARE.
Many know them, but so far nobody has brought them to the attention of the authorities.
THERE IS A REAL DANGER THAT SOON THE CHAOS will start IN THIS COUNTRY. In this regard, I participated in an exchange of opinions among a group of people from the environment, where I expressed my concerns, with all the details. I did it because I hoped that one of them could send my concerns to the attention of President Macri.
In that exchange, one person, XXX, said: There are two models of confrontation in Argentina: Nr.1. A model based on "popular heat" that tries to perpetuate itself in power and when it has to leave or it is cast, it inevitably leaves a socio-economic bomb It is not easily disabled. When it loses power it makes a bloody opposition, Mr.XXX gave examples of Presidents Alfonsin and De la Rua.
Nr.2.-A more technocratic model based on government efficiency and the implementation of State institutions; Justice Service, BCRA, INDEC, a more ethical bidding system for public Works and others.
And in conclusion, Mr. XXX says: Either we copy Venezuela (neo Marxism) in the first case, or we follow a more normal country in the second type, like Chile, Canada etc.
To this statement of mr. XXX I answered: But if we want to approach a "Chile-like" country, we must follow Chile's examples and not simply make DECLAMATIONS. When President Macri summoned his officials to the Spiritual Retreat in Chapadmalal, he asked for AUTO-CRITICS in a VERY CLEAR way. No one can deny that he was NOT SATISFIED WITH THE RESULTS OF 2 YEARS OF HIS GOVERNMENT. But instead of AUTO-CRITICS, HE RECEIVED SELF-PRAISES. That is why Messrs. Negri and Monzó withdrew BEFORE THE FINAL ACT. Everyone knows that they were out of the "red circle" for some time. And the results came a few months later.
I asked Mr. XXX, who was reading in copy, if he did not agree that mistakes were made?
On my site www.antonioz.com.ar I have given proof of the errors that have been clearly committed in the Ministry of TRANSPORTATION, which enjoys a good image.
Especially the serious errors committed by A.G.P. with the Modernization Plan of the Port of Buenos Aires. I think that what happens with the port may damage the image of the President, for 2 reasons: In the first place, because the Unions threat with strikes. They are fed up with the unfulfilled promises that Mortola made since March 2016. And this could be used by Hugo Moyano, to can make serious strikes in all transportd, which could suffocate the country and make the country ungovernable, as happened in other crises. Secondly, because there are things that the voters of the Matanza and other large conglomerations are going to use, which usually decide who wins the election. THEY ARE GOING TO SHOUT THAT MACRI GOVERNES FOR THE RICH AND THAT PROOF OF THIS CAN BE FOUND IN THE POLICY TO CONSTRUCT HIGH BUILDINGS WITH A NICE VIEW TO THE RIVER, where now the best spaces are to operate with containers. The Unions are going to say that the the authorities are doing everything so that it will be impossible to keep the Port of Buenos Aires for containers. It is known fact that a plan of US $ 1000 to 1,500 million US dollars is IMPOSSIBLE.
That is why I hope that President Macri and Messrs. Marcos Peña and Dujovne,will analyze the events of the last days and that they wake up.
I hope that they realize that the extensive public discussions that are now taking place, show that they must change the course and stop talking that they are doing EVERYTHINGN WELL. I hope they really will start to correct errors. And in my blog there is strong evidence that serious mistakes have been made in the Plans of A.G.P. They have hired EXTERNAL CONSULTANTS, but refuse to publish the advices these have given. In www.tradenews there are many articles and comments that prove what I say. A.G.P. NOW MUST ACCEPT A DEBATE I suggested already 18 years ago.
In this way President Macri will be able to start recovering the voters he is losing.
You could find information in Spanish in http://www.antonioz.com.ar and look for a field: with the following text: The lessons that can be found in the unsuccessful attempt of the former Under-Secretary Jorge Metz to open his CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL.
This message should also reach THE OFFICIALS OF THE F.M.I., who must control how Argentina is spending the few dollars that still can be gathered. I would like to receive opinions about this entrance.
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.