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REGIONAL REPORTSOUTH AMERICA


Ecuador undergoes ups and downs


Ecuador has its fair share of challenges, said Matthias Schmidt, director of Schryver del Ecuador’s oil and energy division. At a fundamental level, its geography is far from


easy to manage from a project logistics point of view. “The ports are on the Pacific side, the capital (where the main industrial areas are) is at an elevation of 10,000 ft (3,048 m), and the oil blocks are in the Amazon jungle,” he said, adding that varying river water levels and bridges are among just some of the features to consider when planning a move. One project Schryver worked on earlier this year


was for Siemens in the Galapagos Islands. The company moved 40 containers and three breakbulk pieces to Isabela Island for a hybrid power plant (photovoltaic panels and biodiesel). Schmidt said: “The island is very remote, around


1,000 km off the coast, and has no infrastructure – so we had to bring our own cranes, low-loaders and forklifts, for instance. We also had to use barges to ferry the shipments to shore because the water is very shallow.” The power plant was inaugurated during


December 2018. Of course Ecuador’s economy depends heavily on


the price of oil – it is an OPEC member and produces around 500,000 bpd of crude, accounting for roughly 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. A decline in oil prices means less investment in oil projects as well as in the public sector. But things are looking up since the presidential elections that took


Fracht believes that the new Brazilian government will help spur a significant increase in activity in the project logistics field.


Schryver unloads power plant shipments in the Galapagos Islands, watched by local wildlife.


place in February 2017. Noting that several government ministers are ex-


private sector, which represents a change for the better in terms of Ecuador’s economic development, Schmidt said he expected more project cargo in the next couple of years. “The government is trying to bring money into


Ecuador through foreign direct investment. It is a more private sector-friendly government, and private investment is increasing,” he explained. Schmidt said there is a need for more oil


refineries: despite being an oil-producing country, Ecuador has a shortage of petrol – and importing this commodity is expensive. One area that is seeing investment from abroad


is hydroelectric power. “The Chinese are building plants here in exchange for oil. This is controversial because it happened when the oil price was low – but now it has gone up again,” Schmidt observed.


Schmidt: “There is a need for more oil refineries.”


tunnels in the coming years. This is part of its 4G public-private partnership programme, launched in 2012. In the infrastructure sector, there is an


expectation for the Bogota metro project and the continuation of the expansion and modernisation of roads and highways. This sector has been affected by


corruption problems and by the situation in Ituango – which suffered a series of landslides in May that brought to a halt work on the hydroelectric dam there. As for oil and gas in Colombia, Ecopetrol


plans to reactivate exploration offshore and expansion projects for 2019, as well as developing projects for solar energy generation. The firm intends to invest USD3.5-4


billion over the course of these 12 months, according to local press reports. HLPFI


www.heavyliftpfi.com January/February 2019 109


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