CRISIS OF THE MERCHANT NAVY OF ARGENTINA LEADS THE FLEETS OF PARAGUAY AND BOLIVIA TO SURPASS IT IN TONNAGE
Maritime and fluvial activity Argentina is far from competing with the world maritime freight market.
This November 25 marks the 22nd anniversary of Manuel Belgrano’s initiative, from which the National Nautical School was created. The date is -in theory- the point of reference to mark the creation of the Argentine Merchant Marine that came to transport from 1960 up to 90% of the country’s foreign trade. However, at present, this activity is in debacle, reported Infobae.
This was confirmed by the Overseas Captain, Mónica Navarro, when she referred to the asymmetries of operating costs, especially in comparison with the fleets of Paraguay, Bolivia or Brazil. Navarro explained that the reality is that Argentina does not offer advantages, since it has a huge tax difference, not only because of the tax burden for earnings but also in everything related to labor charges, if, for example, it is compared with Paraguay for the case of Hidrovia.
“The result of this enormous cost difference made Paraguay multiply the activity of its Merchant Marine, being at this moment the fourth fleet in the world in river transport, while Argentina is practically out of business having 2,000 kilometers of river coastline,” he said Navarrese.
In the case of the bunker, the Paraguayan flag ship that transits the Hidrovía loads fuel in Argentine ports without VAT or other taxes. The same ship with the Argentine flag has a cost of 39 to 40%, which is an insurmountable obstacle when it comes to competing with a freight rate.
On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that many specialists in the sector risk annual losses of billions of dollars due to not having ships to meet the needs of Argentine foreign trade. In this sense, Navarro said that despite not being in a position to measure in figures what that means, “we can affirm that we are in a very disadvantageous situation with respect to the international market. We are definitely far from competing with the world market of the sea freight”.
Regarding the shortage of vessels to transport the cereal export records in Argentina, Navarro stated that: “These vessels of which we are talking have insured traffic both outward and return, we could have export cargo, but then we would lack the Import cargo for the return trip. Large shipping companies have agreements with different shippers in most ports in the world and that makes the economic equation close to them”
Projections of the naval industry in Argentina
According to Navarro, there is a possible scale for the naval industry. “We have been working with the national naval industry for many years, of the 32 vessels of the business group, 18 have been built in the country. At this moment we are building a tanker from scratch and reforming one for the transportation of cereals. There is definitely a scale. possible for the naval industry ”.
A fact that Navarro did not want to ignore is how unfortunate it is many times to see that the “National State is a true machine to prevent.” At present, he said, they are committed to an undertaking to support offshore oil exploration, which is a task that involves a large commitment of capital and is a source of work for many people, which has an investment of US $ 1 billion. “The entire project is paralyzed by the inaction of the Ministry of the Environment, which has not finished defining the procedure that was presented to it to assess the environmental impact,” said Navarro.