The Union of Exporters of Uruguay (UEU) He pointed against port prices by establishing that they are uncompetitive, which have risen up to 350% in recent years and defended the creation of a Port Services Regulatory Unit.
Facundo Márquez, president of the UEU, recalled that the exporters presented, in August 2021, a bill before Parliament that proposes a Port Services Regulatory Unit (Ursep), on which, currently, new measures have been proposed to improve the initiative. The objective of this entity is that oversee, regulate and control port rates and services, beyond whoever is in charge at the Cuenca del Plata Terminal (TCP).
For Márquez, the concession of the Uruguayan State of the TCP to the Belgian company Katoen Natie until 2080 is an issue that transcends the government of Luis Lacalle Pou and the next administrations that succeed him, so it is imperative to have an independent body that regulates, oversees and controls rates and port services in Uruguay.
The Union of Exporters considers that the National Administration of Ports (ANP)which currently has these powers, being part of Terminal Cuenca del Plata -it is a minority partner- cannot be judge and party.
“We have to agree on which country we want from now to the next 40 years. Here they discuss two years, three years or towards the next elections. It is very difficult to get the political system, the employers, the workers to agree in such a long term.”, explained Márquez, weeks ago, in dialogue with Ámbito.com.
The president of the UEU defended carrying out long-term reforms in Uruguay, which would allow think 40 years from nowbut that the challenges have to do with the political class coming to an agreement.
Costs in Uruguayan ports and competitiveness
Márquez criticized that prices in Uruguayan port terminals “are three and a half or four times more expensive than competitive ports such as those of Chili or Rio Grande in Brazil”.
On the other hand, Márquez assured that, in the last seven years, prices increased by 350%, although he admitted that, since the concession to the Belgian company, Katoen Natie – which owns 80% of the Cuenca del Plata Terminal (TCP) where the other 20% belongs to the ANP – prices managed to drop by 26%.
Faced with this, the president of the ANP, Juan Curbelo went out to the crossing and declared publicly that the exporters have a “distorted” vision. “You cannot permanently say that the port (of Montevideo) or the port costs are not competitive with those of the region because, first, it is not true and second, you have to have a breadth in what has to do with understanding which it is the reality, the function of the ports and how port costs are measured”, criticized the president.
On the other hand, he remarked that not only can we talk about port prices, but other factors must be taken into account. Curbelo assured that the positioning of the Uruguayan ports has to do with “be efficient, safe and have a good infrastructure that makes them choose the country”.