Juan José Cardona was named president of the Port Authority of Las Palmas in the middle of last May. Since then, he has not stopped meeting with the different members of the port community to learn first-hand what the reality is and what the needs are of each one of its members.
Cardona was mayor of the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria from 2011 to 2015, a position that he made compatible with that of councillor for Casa Africa, president of the Biodiversity Cities Network or president of the Euro-African Institute for Governance Association, among others. From 2015 to May 2018 he was a councillor and spokesman for the People’s Municipal Group in the City Hall of the Gran Canaria capital.
In this interview, the president, already elect, of the Port Authority of Las Palmas takes stock of his first months in office and reflects on some of his main challenges.
You have been at the head of the Port Authority of Las Palmas for a little over four months, what balance do you make about this management period?
They have been very intense months. On one hand I have tried to update myself on the entire reality of our ports while also getting to know what the great challenges and great aims and needs are which I can contribute with from Presidency.
What are the strengths of the Port of Las Palmas and what projects do you think should be promoted?
I think that the main strength of the Port of Las Palmas is given by its multi-specialisation. Unlike other ports that have one sole main activity, we can say with satisfaction that there are several activities that characterise our offer: not only in the traffic and transport of conventional merchandise but also in the cruise sector where we are one of the most important ports in the world. Also in container traffic, with a high number of containers in transit. The same can be said of bunkering, a very strong sector in which we are national leaders or in the naval repairs sector, which is one of the most important parts of our port offer.
Right now, which projects have more priority on the table?
I always say that we have to manage the present and design the future. In that sense, my objective should be to work in different areas: on the one hand to modernise and make the whole organisation of the Port Authority more efficient and, on the other, to achieve better involvement of the port community, strengthening and designing a consensual commercial strategy with all the operators to sell our ports abroad, expecting to prepare this port community by advancing innovations, in technology and environmental matters, to be ready for the digital revolution.
Has the 4.0 revolution arrived at the Ports of Las Palmas?
You never know when one stage finishes and a new one starts. We have to be able to move from analogue ports to technological and digital ports. It is not enough to have technological capability but also have a port community willing to share information in a collaborative economy, so that it contributes to make better decisions for the future. Every day new challenges arise which we have to face with the ability to adapt.
Can we say that the Port of Las Palmas is on its way to becoming a Smart Port?
I believe that any port that takes pride in itself and has a leadership position as is the case of the Ports of Las Palmas has to be aware that it either has to incorporate the digital culture of smart port and green port or it really will be headed towards losing that competitivity and that leadership that characterises it. That is why we -the Ports of Las Palmas and the entire port community- are working with great determination to welcome all these technological changes and prepare ourselves for that collaborative economy to be imposed.
You have spoken on other occasions about the need to agree on a commercial axis with the port community when promoting the Ports of Las Palmas abroad. Has anything progressed at this point?
In these very coming few days, we will introduce the brand Las Palmas Port to the port community, to position and reinforce the position of our ports in the international market with a communication campaign. As I mentioned before, the entire promotion strategy of the Ports has to be done in a consented manner with the port community. The Port Authority can not go one way and its community the other.
When will LNG be able to be offered in the Ports of Las Palmas?
We will be able to offer it when the demand begins to ask for it. It is not a about arriving beforehand, but about arriving on time and in that sense I am sure that in 2020 the Port of Las Palmas will have the possibility to supply liquefied natural gas, among other things because our clients are going to demand it.
What is the purpose of an event such as the Mid Atlantic Ship Repair & Supply Summit and what does it contribute to the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria?
The aim is to consolidate our leadership position in the field of repair in general and off shore repair in particular. And the contribution to the city is very positive from all points of view since we are talking about the important diversification of our port economy. This event will be a great support to the strategy that for many years has been developing the naval repair sector in our Port. We can not forget that our first famous client in naval repair was Christopher Columbus and that is something that gives us character. The history of our Port has always been characterised by permanent innovation and, in this sense, the naval repair companies have been a magnificent example of how to adapt to the new challenges and demands of the future.
The strategic location of the Port of La Luz and Las Palmas is, without a doubt, one of the fundamental keys to its success. Being in the middle of the Atlantic, between three continents, and being in the passage of the routes of the shipping companies is a unique condition of this port.
Due to its geographical location, the Port of Las Palmas constitutes a vitally important logistics platform with great potential. The city has always been oriented to the port being this the natural gateway to different continents like Africa, Europe or America. Its 2,000 hectares of anchoring area and the capacity to move numerous containers per hour have allowed it to consolidate itself as the most important port in the area.
The Port of Las Palmas has been specializing due to the need for large cargo operations due, on the one hand, to the powerful offshore sector that uses this port as a logistics hub for repairs, which involves positioning large pieces of platforms and drilling vessels on it; and on the other hand, the growth of renewable energies has made it necessary to adapt spaces and specialize in the handling of these components.
The great Atlantic fuel station
The Port of Las Palmas is connected with 180 ports of the five continents through some thirty maritime lines.
It is known as the great Atlantic fuel station for the million and a half tons of pretollar products that are supplied annually, about three tons every minute.
Due to its proximity to the rich African fishing grounds and its infrastructure, it is the first fishing port in the area, with an annual movement of 400,000 tons of frozen fish.
The largest naval repair center in the area
Container traffic is the first in West Africa with close to 1,000,000 TEUs. It has the largest naval repairs center in the area, with versatility to perform supertanker afloat operations, to beach ships of up to 30,000 tons, as well as to serve sports boats (yachts).
It is a traditional port on the route of tourist cruises, with a volume of more than one million passengers, including tourists and domestic traffic. It has the largest Canary Islands Marina, with 850 capacity berths.
The Port of Las Palmas has enjoyed a traditional commercial freedom, which it has perfected through the special Economic and Fiscal Regime of the Canary Islands, which is a special fiscal statute within the European Union.
Attendees at the Mid Atlantic Ship Repair to be held next year in the Gran Canaria capital will be able to see first-hand and on-site all the benefits and strengths of this port located in the middle of the Atlantic with an unequaled geostrategic condition.
One of the topics that will be addressed in the session “New fuels within the regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)” will be LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). Less than two years after the entry into force of the new sulfur limits for fuels established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Liquefied Natural Gas is becoming an increasingly viable option as fuel for the 21st century.
Many shipowners are still wondering how they can comply with the new regulations, which will begin to be applied in January 2020. The options are divided between the scrapping of the oldest ships, the equipment of the different units with gas purification systems pollutants, the shift to low sulfur fuels or the use of LNG.
What is LNG?
Liquefied natural gas is one of the fossil fuels most respectful of the environment. It generates up to 25% less CO2 emissions than other traditional fuels. In addition, it contributes to the almost total reduction of emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx), reduces nitrogen oxides (NOX) by more than 80% and almost completely eliminates particles (PM).
The decarbonization of maritime transport
The transition to the low carbon economy is a topic of special relevance for society due to its impact on environmental and economic sustainability. It is necessary to begin to change things to meet the environmental objectives imposed by the European Union in the near future.
This process of using LNG as a fuel for ships is known as the decarbonization of maritime transport and implies a considerable reduction of emissions with immediate effect on air quality and the greenhouse effect, since the emission of harmful gases is avoided, such as the oxides of sulfur and nitrogen.
In this energy transition and in the search for more efficient fuels related to maritime transport, the goal of Puertos del Estado, the public entity with responsibility over the stateowned port system, is that by 2020 all Spanish ports can supply LNG to the boats to be cleaner and more efficient.
The Ports of Las Palmas prepare for the supply of LNG
According to the manager of the Puertos de Las Palmas Foundation, Sergio Galván, the Ports of Las Palmas are catching up and preparing to supply LNG in the coming years. The supply of this fuel in the Ports of Las Palmas is not yet possible, but it will be essential when the new European Union regulations come into force.
The Ports of Las Palmas have one of the most enviable geostrategic locations and situations on the planet. Specifically, its flagship, the Puerto de La Luz and Las Palmas, is above all an international port that combines its import and export traffic with the provision of all kinds of services for the stopover of ships (repairs, supplies and others) , also for the fishing traffic, the ferrys and the pleasure boats. It is the first merchandise distributor center in the Canary Islands and one of the most important in Spain, with connections to 180 ports on five continents through some thirty maritime lines.
The Mid Atlantic Ship Repair & Supply Summit, which will be held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on April 4th and 5th, 2019, will be a magnificent opportunity to show internationally the enormous possibilities and incentives of our Ports.
According to the manager of the Puertos de Las Palmas Foundation, Sergio Galván, one of the main objectives of this important congress that will have national and international experts on different topics, will be to show the strengths of the Ports of Las Palmas in the sectors of repairs, naval and ship supplies, in addition to the fiscal attractions offered by the Ports of Las Palmas with the Canarian Economic Tax Regime (REF) or the Canary Islands Special Zone (ZEC) when looking for the implementation of new companies.
Other objectives will be to attract the major manufacturers in the world of ship repair that are not yet in Las Palmas, in addition to fostering the competitiveness of local naval repair and ship supply companies through knowledge of the new trends in the sector which take place in other parts of the world thanks to the celebration of this congress.
First congress of this type in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
The Mid Atlantic Ship Repair & Supply Summit will be the first congress of these characteristics to be held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, since so far only small seminars have been held in the city on some of the topics that will be addressed next year in the appointment scheduled in the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium. There has never been a congress of this magnitude in which all the institutions to do with the port sector or with the internationalization of the Canary Islands participate.
The Mid Atlantic Ship Repair & Supply Summit is sponsored by the Port Authority of Las Palmas, the Port of Las Palmas Foundation, PROEXCA, Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), Economic Promotion Society of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria (SPEGC), Maritime Cluster of the Canary Islands and the Provincial Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises of Metal and New Technologies of Las Palmas (FEMEPA). It also has the collaboration of ASTICAN, Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Gran Canaria, EMERGE, Canary Oceanic Platform (PLOCAN), Association of Ship Provisioners (PROVICANARIAS), University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) ), Zamakona Yards, Consortium of the Free Zone of Gran Canaria, Innovalia Association and the Canary Islands Special Zone (ZEC).
The Mid Atlantic Ship Repair & Supply Summit Las Palmas Port will be held on April 4 th and 5th 2019 at the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is an unmissable event to get to know all the innovations and new trends that will define the future of the sectors related to port activity.
This congress will gather 300 people from the ship repair and naval repairs sector in the Gran Canaria capital. Among them, will be recognized national and international experts from the naval sector.
Wide participation of local and international companies
The congress days are open to local companies with the aim of attracting potential clients. International companies and experts are also invited to participate in order to get to know the experience of the Ports of Las Palmas and, in particular, its flagship, Puerto de la Luz.
In addition, to achieve these objectives all the participants of the Congress will have a local and international area, to explain to the attendants the experience of our ports.
Mid Atlantic Ship Repair & Supply Summit Las Palmas Port
The Mid Atlantic Ship Repair & Supply Summit Las Palmas Port is an event dedicated to the sectors of Naval Repairs and Ship Supplies of international character. The objective of this event is to show the high capacity and experience of companies and SMEs of these sectors in the Port of Las Palmas, making many customers require their services and consider this Port as a reference in the Mid-Atlantic / Africa .
The congress will focus on four key issues: The Port of Las Palmas, Port Services and Fiscal Regime, Incentives; Naval repairs in the Offshore renewable marine energy sector; New fuels within the regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO); and Industry 4.0 and Smart Shipyards.