TMCV chief executive officer João do Rosário confirmed, in an exclusive interview with A Semana Online, that the TMCV and the government have arrived at an agreement to begin shipping operations. “We already have a verbal agreement, but we still need to formalized the concession, which should happen as soon as the feasibility study, which will define the price of tickets and cargo shipments, is concluded,” according to João do Rosário, who affirms that sea transportation ticket prices and cargo shipment fees have not been updated since 2006.
In order to reassure clients, Rosário explains that the study will readjust current tariffs, meaning that there will not necessarily be an increase in ticket prices. “Prices may go up or down, because if one route is highly profitable and another much less so, as they’re both being operated by a single company, balance can always be achieved. But the feasibility study is what will determine this,” he explains.
TMCV will also guarantee smooth cargo transportation, given that it has various different ships at its disposal. The company also has two warehouses, one in Praia and another in Mindelo. “We’re going to guarantee cargo transportation regardless of breakdowns or other problems. We have shipping containers, semis and trucks that allow us to deliver door-to-door in accordance with clients’ demands,” he says, highlighting the idea of having a single point of contact for clients.
TMCV will work with a total of 12 vessels, all of which are ships that already operate in the country and belong to the associate companies, and will ply routes among all of the islands. According to its schedule, it will have connections between São Vicente-Santo Antão-São Vicente; São Vicente-São Nicolau-Sal and Boa Vista; São Vicente-Sal-São Vicente; Praia-Maio-Praia; Praia-Sal-Boa Vista-Praia; and São Vicente-Praia-São Vicente, as well as, periodically, São Vicente-Praia-Fogo or Brava. “We’re going to connect all of the islands on a regular schedule.”
The operations will be carried out on mixed cargo/passenger vessels. João do Rosário explains that one of the requisites for attributing this concession was that the ships had to be mixed vessels. He acknowledges, however, that the vessels belonging to the new company are mostly for cargo. “We have vessels to cover all of the country’s islands. In the cases in which the mixed ships aren’t able to handle the demand, we can fill in the gaps with regular cargo ships. Right now there’s no lack of ships in Cape Verde, what’s lacking is coordination,” he says.
A confident João do Rosário believes that the problems related to shipping connections among the islands will be resolved with this new company. “All of the islands will be supplied. The ships will respect a predefined schedule in order to prevent two or more ships from being present at a given time to the detriment of another,” he assures.
The state of Cape Verde divided inter-island sea transportation into two concessions, the first attributed to Cabo Verde fast Ferry and the second to TMCV. The TMCV was created on April 17 of this year following a number of meetings with Director-General of Mobility, Anastácio Silva, and ship owners associated with the Cape Verdean Association of Merchant Marine Ship Owners.