Valentine’s Day rose shipments face flight, material shortages; Police to keep road clear of protesters; Ex-mayor defends tram contracts; New recycling plan
Hola, Todos –
La TRI quiere tomarse LIma (La TRI wants to take Lima) – Ecuador and Peru tied 1 – 1 and Ecuador gained another point in its bid to make the World Cup competition in Qatar.
“Hay imprecisiones en el informe del Tranvía” (“There are inaccuracies in the Tram report.”) – Paúl Granda, ex mayor of Cuenca responded to the report on the Tranvía by Asambleistas Bruno Segovia and Fernando Villavicencio. He was asked for his impressions on the declarations by the two assemblymen. He responded that the project has already had 5 Comptroller’s reports, only two of which had to to with his administration, during which things were done correctly. The planning, and precontractual and contractual processes complied with Ecuadorian law, and this is the 1st inaccuracy in the assemblyman’s report.
When asked how the Tranvía studies were done he replied that there were 3. The feasibility study by Artelia was paid for by the French government and cost 650,000 euros. There were more extensive complementary or engineering studies to determine the project was technically viable done by a Spanish consortium and paid for by the Ecuadorian gov’t.
The 2nd inaccuracy was that the study steered the project to a French firm and this was not so and bid solicitations were sent to China, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and others.
He responded to the issue that the French offered financing if the contract went to the French consortium and said that all government to government credit comes with the condition to use the technology of the lender. He said that the terms of Chinese financing would have been 7-8% interest on a 10 year loan. The French offered 0% interest with a 5.5 year grace period and 15 years after that with the condition of using their technology.
He said that the 3d inaccuracy in the assemblymen’s report was that the loan came not from the French government but a private bank. Granda said the loan agreement was between the French and Ecuadorian governments and not with the city of Cuenca. He pointed out the impossibility of a private bank offering a loan at 0% interest.
He was asked about the self-sustainability of the Tranvía and the initial study that talked about 120,000 daily riders which was used to to justify the project. Granda replied the study estimated from 90,000 to 120,000 trips a day – not passengers, since there are passengers that might take 2 or 3 trips a day. The same studies were based on integration with the public transport system (buses). The hypothesis was that there would be no bus lines competing with the Tranvía and buses would be feeders to the Tranvía. This hypothesis was fundamental since if it happened, there could easily be over 60,000 to 70,000 passengers and therefore no deficit. Granda was asked about the cost exceeding $290 million and responded that he couldn’t give an answer since the cost was $232 million when he was mayor. He thought that if there had not been the contingencies and the delays, the work stoppage and conflicts, and the contracts that were a product of these problems, there would not have been a price increase.
Con plástico usado hacen muebles (Used plastic is used to make furniture) – The U. Católica de Cuenca, through its Centro de Investigación, Innovación y Transferencia de Tecnología (CIITT), has signed an agreement with la Empresa Municipal de Aseo (EMAC EP – Municipal Garbage Company) to process 11 tons of hard plastics for a second use that would have otherwise wound up in landfill . Plastic washtubs and packaging, and bumpers and fenders that wind up in body shops can go to the Laboratorio de Economía Circular (Circular Economy Laboratory) of he CIITT to be made into outdoor furniture such as tables, benches, railings and large flowerpots which have been installed in rural parishes such as Quingeo, Turi, El Valle, and more. This furniture has a second life of over 50 years. The project has been in the making at the Universidad Católica for 3 years starting with developing the technology to process the plastic. Household plastic such as old washtubs, shampoo bottles and other hard plastic can be donated to the CIITT of the U. Católica in Ricaurte.
Desacuerdos por proyecto Soldados-Yanuncay (Disagreements over Soldados-Yanuncay project) – Matías Abad, governor of Azuay, confirmed that the Policía Nacional will guarantee free circulation on the vía San Joaquiín-Soldados-Chaucha. The road, at the Hulguín bridge, has been the site of protestors against the Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Soldados Yanuncay (PHSY) who have been at the site since el 17/1. The Empresa Electro Generadora del Austro (Elecaustro) is in charge of the project which consists of a 42 m. high dam and 2 generating plants in series. A cement truck transporting construction material was stopped, the driver taken from the truck and a fire set in the cab by several hooded people. This prompted the police presence. Protestors said that they were 5 km. from the incident and they are peacefully protesting, had never set and never will set fire to anything.
Pérdidas en exportación de rosas (Losses in rose exports) – The lack of flights for exporting roses for Valentine’s day is a problem for the Asociación Nacional de Productores y Exportadores de Flores del Ecuador (Expoflores). Added to that is a shortage of paper which complicates the fabrication of cardboard containers and a scarcity of supplies such as agricultural chemicals and fertilizers. Alejandro Martínez, president of Exploflores said there is a deficit of 2,500 tons for 14/2 which represents a loss of $18-20 million due to lack of sales.
Valentine’s Day represents 30% of the annual sales with the Día de la Mujer and Mother’s Day representing another 30%. Martínez said that usually 30,000 boxes are exported daily, but this rises to between 85,000-100,000 for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, the demand and production are there, but with no way to transport it. The sector planned in advance to meet demand, and worked extensively to get enough flights, but aren’t enough to meet the demand. Deliveries to the US and Europe usually start around 27/1. Other problems include tariffs. Ecuador pays 6.8% to the US which makes it less competitive than other flower exporting nations. He said that after a huge fall in 2020, there was some recuperation in 2021, and if it were not for the logistical problems, 2022 would have been a record year.
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –