The Rio Maguari shipyard wants to expand its influence in the market for the supply of tugboats for port support. Therefore, it recently closed a partnership with the Canadian company Robert Allan for the construction of this type of boat. “There are already ongoing conversations with two players. These are very concrete conversations. And we hope that in the coming months we can announce the first contract of this partnership, “said the commercial director of Rio Maguari, Fabio Vasconcellos. By 2018, the prospect is to deliver a total of 60 vessels and, with the resumption of the oil and gas sector, the executive explains that the shipyard also intends to conquer deals within this segment. The focus of the business will be Brazil, but Vasconcellos details that neighboring countries like Chile and Colombia are also on the radar.
Could you elaborate on the partnership with Robert Allan?
The partnership came as a result of construction projects we are developing at the shipyard of pushers, designed by Robert Allan. From our performance in these vessels, with deadline, delivery and quality, they invited us to be one of the partner shipyards in South America for the construction of port support tugboats. It is a non-exclusive partnership. In this sense, we are in the market to talk with the port support players to build tugboats, preferably with Robert Allan projects.
Are there any new contracts coming from this new partnership?
There are already ongoing conversations with two players. These are very concrete conversations. And we hope that in the coming months we can announce the first contract of this partnership.
Will Brazil be the focus of new business for the shipyard?
At the outset, Brazil is the main focus. But we have competitive prices for the supply of port support tugs for Latin America. Countries like Colombia, Peru, Chile and also the Caribbean. These countries that surround us are our target, besides the Brazilian players.
What about the oil and gas industry? What’s the plans?
The oil and gas market always raises the interest of shipbuilding, obviously. It can not be different here in Brazil, which is very strong in this industry. We are a medium-sized shipyard, so the vessels we can build for this sector are also of medium size. Now, with the resumption of the oil and gas industry, we intend to be in this market, participating in some way.
The company must deliver how many boats this year?
In the last five years, we delivered about 350 vessels. For this year, the prospect is to deliver at least 60, between barges and pushers. The outlook for 2019 is positive.
The yard also has strong performance in the river sector. How is the business environment in this area?
The Rio Maguari is one of the leaders in shipbuilding of river boats, especially in the North. The company has a characteristic of being little dependent on the oil and gas industry, contrary to what is the Brazilian naval industry. Fluvial shipbuilding in general is less dependent on the oil and gas industry, which is a good thing. We have built many river trains for agribusiness and, nowadays, it is a motor of growth in Brazil. We hope that with the prospect of this permanent growth in agribusiness, we will continue [to operate in this sector]. We hope the government does not interfere with freight rates or new regulations.
What other obstacles do you see in the country today that can disrupt business?
I think these concession issues in the infrastructure sector need to be improved. Water transport and shipbuilding are part of an infrastructure transport matrix in Brazil. So they are interdependent investments. When the government does not have the money to invest, it needs to intensify public-private partnerships and concessions. It is necessary to renew the railway concessions and to move forward with the road concessions. Port deregulation is also necessary. The Port Decree came, in this sense, to modernize the Brazilian port legislation.
The press only highlights possible fraud in the drafting of the decree and focuses a lot on it. But forget to say that the entire port infrastructure sector and the logistics sector in general support the decree. If there was something wrong, we need to be investigated, but we should not go back on items of the decree. It is in line with all that is most modern in port operation worldwide. It benefited the entire Brazilian port industry. We need to deepen the benefits of the decree and think outside the box on the issue of waterway concession. In this sense, Colombia has made a public-private partnership for the concession of the Madelra River to private initiative, which will require millions of dollars in investment. Why can not we do this in Brazil too?