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Modest port investments in size

Modest port investments in size
Port and container terminal investments will become ?modest? in size over the short term due to the global downturn.

Port and container terminal investments will become ?modest? in size over the short term due to the global downturn.

Port and container terminal investments will become ?modest? in size over the short term due to the global downturn.

APM Terminals executive Hans-Ole Madsen told a World Bank transport forum in Washington: ?In the current economic situation, stakeholders in the port/maritime transport industry need to adjust expectations and ambitions to what can actually be financed.

?As such, it must be expected that port projects in the short term will remain modest in size and time-frame, considering the need to raise cash from operations earlier in the projects" life?, an idea echoed by other key speakers at the forum.

Mr Madsen, vice president of business development for Africa, the Middle East and India region, also said that developing nations seeking port investment should think of the international transportation industry as partners rather than as ?adversaries? or ?geese laying golden eggs?.

He suggested that a new approach was needed by local and national governments, and by non-governmental organisations, to deal with an ?impending infrastructure crisis? in the developing world.

Mr Madsen said that while port congestion was now less of a problem in the developed world, due to the sharp downturn in container throughputs, delays still remain a critical issue in many developing nations where adequate infrastructure, port and otherwise, ?simply does not yet exist?.

Limited capacity is still a problem

Mr Madsen observed: ?Worldwide container volumes may have fallen by 20% or more during the first months of 2009 as compared with last year, but the fact is that there are still ports in the developing world where limited capacity is still very much a significant and current problem.?

He continued: ?Or that sufficiently modern ports and terminals simply do not even yet exist which can accommodate any moderately-sized modern cargo vessels, containerised or otherwise, let alone the latest generation giants.

?Without this access to the global logistics and international markets, economic development and its accompanying social progress will remain stunted.?

In a wide ranging speech, Mr Madsen stated: ?One step toward addressing this impending infrastructure crisis is for local and national governments (and NGOs) to acknowledge the international transportation industry as partners rather than as adversaries or simply as geese laying golden eggs there for the taking.

?The commitment of terminal operators and investment firms interested in infrastructure projects in developing regions is strong.?

Drawing on his company"s own experience, Mr Madsen said: ?APM Terminals invested nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in 2008 in capital projects, in both industrialised and developing nations.

?In both locations protracted approval processes and regulatory obstacles can unnecessarily delay crucial infrastructure investment and development.

?Unrealistic and uncompetitive concession terms and ancillary investment stipulations can sometimes prove insurmountable, diverting scarce resources from critical infrastructure needs.?

He observed that there is ?a very strong basis for cooperation?, with all parties sharing common goals of increased economic development and growth through expanded trade.

?Let us work together for the benefit of everyone, particularly those populations in the developing world which can directly benefit not only from access to the global logistics chain, but also from employment opportunities at the ports themselves.?


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