Over 20 delegates from the Port of Santos in Brazil visited the “iconic” Port of Gibraltar yesterday.
Among them were the President of the Port of Santos José Alex Oliva and the President of the Santos Chamber of Commerce, Roberto Santini.
Gibraltar was the first port of call for the group during the visit to Europe. They also will be visiting Algeciras in Spain and Tanger Med in Morocco.
The Port of Santos is located 70 kilometres from Sao Paulo and is 25 kilometres long on with operational facilities available on both sides.
Its containers assist the transportation of various goods but a considerable amount of them are coffee, sugar, soybean, orange juice and fertilizers.
For the past 15 years a group of representatives from the Port and Chamber of Commerce have visited ports around the world.
“We choose the ports as a group and everybody wanted to come here to Gibraltar because it is very different to us and it is iconic,” said Mr Santini.
“We like it here [in Gibraltar] very much,” he added.
Mr Santini explained that the representatives in the group are not exporters but service providers “we are here to visit and to learn” from the businesses on the Rock.
Mr Oliva agreed, “This area of the Strait of Gibraltar is very unique and things that happen here are very specific for this area.”
“What is very important is that we change our knowledge and learn,” he added.
The visiting guests described the Port of Santos as the most important one in South America and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also the largest generator of direct and indirect job in Santos.
The Port of Santos caters for an array of maritime needs and also has a cruise terminal. It has LNG facilities but does not bunker the product.
The CEO and Captain of the Port Manuel Tirado said the visit was very important for Gibraltar, “the exchange and learning opportunities that both we and they get, as they have been very impressed with the amount of work we do in Gibraltar and the amount of traffic we move, it is very impressive to them.
“It is very important that we maintain links with one of the biggest ports in South America,” he added.
Mr Tirado agreed with both Mr Oliva and Mr Santini’s “iconic” description of the Port of Gibraltar. “The reality is that in the maritime industry Gibraltar is held very high up, in many occasions it is held as an exemplar. Definitely, that makes a huge difference to how we do things and our pride is rewarded hearing major ports in the world commenting about Gibraltar the way they do. We must be doing something right.”
The Captain was invited last month to a conference at the Port of Santos but was unable to attend due to prior commitments. However, should the opportunity arise in the future he said he would aim to go.
The group also had lunch at the University where there are views of the Strait and were taken on a Rock tour. In addition, they visited the new port offices at the old Lathbury Barracks that is due to be inaugurated this evening.
Pics by Johnny Bugeja