ETE's 80th Anniversary crowned by International River Operations
The business portfolio internationalization and the development of river operations are two of ETE Group’s strategic focus, as referred last Friday on the 80th birthday ceremonies at Naval Rocha shipyard (in Lisbon) with the presence of the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the Minister for the Sea Affairs, Ana Paula Vitorino and the Minister for Environment, Matos Fernandes.
According to Luis Nagy, the CEO, “at ETE Group we are starting the ninth decade with a strong focus on the internationalization of our operations, which have been growing and, we hope, will represent, in 5 years’ time, 30 to 40% of our turnover, against the present 10%. We are particularly focused on markets that we can bring value to, in areas where we have a great deal of experience and know-how, as is the case of river navigation”.
Latin America is one of the priorities for the ETE Group. In Colombia, after a 4-year presence, a new operation has been launched involving transporting by pusher and barges, in a distance of 100 km, stone and sands for infrastructures construction. Additionally, there are ongoing operations with floating cranes, river navigation, support to port and maritime construction and maintenance services, as well as logistic operations with local partners. In Uruguay, with Transfluvial(in partnership with Schandy and Ultramar), ETE runs an operation of river transportation of wood logs, for the world’s largest paper mill, as well as cargo transshipment and shipping operations.
Another ETE Group investment is in Cape Verde. According to Luis Nagy “recently we qualified first in an international public bid for the privatization of CABNAVE, the country’s shipyard in S. Vicente island; the next step will be the financial agreement and the final contractual terms for a 30-year concession.”
The focus on river operations is the answer to environmental challenges
Environmental challenges require integrated cargo transport solutions. Inland waterways transport, an area ETE leads in Iberia with a large growing potential, has in the environmental aspects its greatest advocate.
For Luis Nagy “as ETE Group is the only Portuguese firm operating cargo from barge to ship, we have a duty to contribute towards the development of the river transport mode and of calling decision maker’s attention to its strategic relevance, particularly due to environment concerns.”
Inland waterways transport emissions (CO2 and NOx) are but a fraction (10%) of road transport emissions; fuel consumption is nearly 8 times smaller; furthermore, road congestion is reduced as one barge alone carries as much as 70 trucks’ load.
Aiming at fostering inland waterways transport in the Tejo and Douro rivers, the ETE group has recently started operating a new tug-pusher vessel. This low draft, short length and high power innovative Portuguese project by Navaltagus will operate in narrow, winding and low draft river areas, thus contributes to increasing the economic value of these inland waterways. The ETE group has furthermore commissioned a new project for the construction of a second vessel, which will be LNG propelled.
The new Castanheira do Ribatejo pier will foster intermodal cargo transport
The ETE group has begun construction of an inland waterway pier at Castanheira do Ribatejo just upstream from Lisbon. The pier will begin operating in the 3rd quarter of 2017 and will bring a new dynamic to ETE´s inland waterways operation. According to Luis Nagy, “this investment will also contribute to developing intermodal transport in the Port of Lisbon by connecting the Port´s terminals with Castanheira do Ribatejo logistics platform. The pier will be a significant contribution to road traffic decongestion in the Lisbon area as we´re estimating a 250-750 lorry reduction per day in circulation”.
“Government must offer similar conditions to those of other community countries”. The effective development of the national economy of the sea implies, according to Luis Nagy, “that the Portuguese Government defines and implements urgently a national strategy that contributes to project its enormous potential. There are various entities like the ETE Group, focused on the growth and internationalization of this hyper cluster, but for this to happen the Government must offer national companies in the shipping, port operations and river navigation business area, similar conditions to those of other European countries. ETE Group needs this competitive context to maintain and continue to invest in activities developed in Portugal, but also to export their knowledge and operation to other geographies, thus contributing to strengthen the importance of Portugal in the economy of the sea’.