Friday , 18 October 2019
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Facing the threat of an indefinite strike invoked by the Federación Nacional de Trabajadores de la Empresa Nacional de Puertos (Fentenapu) in May 2008 in order to halt the concessioning of the Ports of Paita and Pisco in October, Peruvian president Alan García has made it clear to protesters who recently attempted to disrupt operations at the Port of Callao, that the Government will not waiver in its port concession policy “whatever the cost”.

No U-turn on Peru’s port policy

“Ports belong to all Peruvians and not just to some workers in Enapu (Empresa Nacional de Puertos) who think they are the owners of the ports and the only users” Garcia emphasised, after making it clear that “the Government will guarantee the functioning of the ports and the external commerce of the country”.

President García said that he had no intention of allowing a small group of less than 1,000 people with “antique ideas” to stop the country’s ports being able to compete with the high technology facilities in Ecuador and Chile. The syndicate (union) members “should abandon their obsolete thesis that ports should only modernise with State funds, since in the modern world, all countries now invite foreign capital to participate in the modernisation of their ports.

Peru has no capacity to invest the nearly US$400m that is required on average to modernise each port and it is vital that that the concessioning goes ahead in order to allow the private sector to begin the port modernisation process, Garcia explained.

“Peru cannot lag behind the advances in other countries especially Ecuador and Chile, and it needs to modernise Callao, Marcona and Paita which are planned to become Pacific megaports and for which international investment has been invited”, he said.

President Garcia also made it clear that “port concessions should not generate alarm for national defense since through the so called “golden shares” mechanism, the State can intervene in port administrations in case of an armed conflict with another country.

Garcia underlined the fact that “it was not possible to further delay the concession programme since Peru’s ports are already lagging further and further behind other regional ports. In Ecuador’s Port of Manta, for example, the Hutchinson Port Holdings facility is seeking to become the main terminal in the South Pacific. And in Chile, they are modernising their ports with foreign capital,” explained García in an interview with Radio Programas del Perú, (RPP).

The future intention is for the Ports of Salaverry, Chimbote and Pisco to maintain their existing status as regional ports with a “national scope for cabotage”, while Paita, Callao and Marcona will become ports “of international character”.