Necessary boost promised for projects to power Portugal forwards

Sines port aiming to create trade triangle with ports in Angola, Brazil

Project aiming for European funding under Global Gateway initiative

Portugal, Brazil and Angola are aiming to create a “trade triangle” for agriculture, cereals and green hydrogen by linking their ports, port officials have told Lusa.

The project will be presented next week in Brussels, where it is hoped to receive funding from the Global Gateway initiative, launched by the European Commission (EC) to promote smart, clean and secure connections in the digital, energy and transport sectors, hoping to mobilise €3 trillion by 2027.

“It’s a negotiation that then has to take place between the Brazilian and European authorities, in which there may also be investment from Portuguese entities,” the head of the Port of Sines, José Luís Cacho, explained during the XIV Congress of the Association of Portuguese Language Ports (APLOP), which took place yesterday in Brasilia, on the theme of “Logistics Corridors, Sustainability and Innovation”.

Cacho also stressed his confidence that the initiative will be well-received by investors, since the project aims to “increase trade flows and exchanges” between Portugal and Brazil.

In July, the Port of Sines and Brazil’s national steel company Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional signed a memorandum as part of the Global Gateway initiative, and a memorandum of understanding had also been signed with the Barra do Dande Development Company in Angola.

“Always in the logic of agribusiness, minerals and energy,” said Cacho, referring to the South American giant, which is one of the world’s granaries and which at the Port of Pecém, in Fortaleza, capital of the state of Ceará, in line with the Brazilian government’s energy ambitions, also intends to enable the facilities to export green hydrogen, produced through the process of electrolysis of water (separation of oxygen and hydrogen) and used mainly for the production of fertilisers for agricultural activity, but which could also be used as a fuel and industrial raw material for pharmaceutical products.

Sines has a central position, not only in relation to Europe and North Africa and West Africa, which will allow us to boost trade, particularly in agri-food products,” José Luís Cacho went on.

Another advantage of the Sines-Pecém connection is the possibility of intensifying the transport of goods after the signing of the trade agreement between Europe and the Mercosur bloc (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) – expected to be finalised by the end of this year.

Also on the sidelines of the congress, head of the Sines Business Association, Hugo Manuel Ferreira, considered that the port, through this connection with Brazil, but also Barra do Dande in Angola, could help to overcome the shortage of cereals in Europe.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “Europe experienced a brutal increase in the price of cereals,” he said, pointing out that Sines is Europe’s 14th largest cargo handling port.

Hugo Manuel Ferreira also emphasised that with the closure of the Sines coal-fired power station, the port has more storage capacity. “The terminal is prepared for any type of cargo,” he said.

On the Angolan side, head of the Barra do Dande Development Company, Joaquim Piedade, told Lusa that expectations are that by 2026 around 860 hectares of the free zone project will have been completed with a maritime terminal and refinery.

Work on the Barra do Dande Ocean Terminal began in 2012 but was briefly suspended in 2016, with the government resuming it in 2018.