Mr. Mário Cavaco
Projects & Logistics Manager
First and foremost our readers would like to know about the history of NAVEX. Portugal is a proud seafaring nation and has made its mark worldwide also in shipping. Can you tell us more?
Navex was founded and started off its activity as a Shipping Agent in the port of Lisbon in 1967. Navex initially developed at a fast pace, leading the Directors to decide to open a new office at the main Northern-Portuguese port of Oporto, followed by the southern-port and one of the fastest-developing hubs of Sines. Later on Navex opened further offices including branches in the ports of Setúbal, Aveiro, Faro, Portimão, Figueira da Foz, Viana do Castelo and the Islands of Madeira and the Azores.
Our Company initiated its activity by representing and attending at Lisbon port the regular line services of the German shipowner O.P.D.R. and later also the shipowners P.O.L., M.A.C.S. – Maritime Carrier Shipping, Laser Lines, Transroll, Hamburg Sud, Mutualista Açoreana, Vieira & Silveira, Transinsular and Boluda, covering all merchant areas of Northern Europe, Western and South African Coast, American Continent and the Portuguese Islands of Madeira and the Azores.
Presently we are Agents of our Principals UNIFEEDER, LINEA MESSINA, VIEIRA & SILVEIRA and MUTUALISTA AÇOREANA.
The lasting confidence and trust from our shipowners’ network as well as our clients has maintained and supported our activity throughout the years. Together with our innovative profile and constant actualization spirit, we have entailed a readiness to overcome all types of challenges and add significant value to our technical solutions. This capacity was later reinforced by the Quality Certification that lead the company through a deeply intensive restructuring and reorganization work with a strong impact on the satisfaction of clients and partners. Our efforts have therefore contributed to the development of maritime transportation in Portugal and the responsive increase of our country’s exports.
Navex is part of GRUPO ETE, the main maritime Group in Portugal, which initiated its activities in 1936 based on stevedoring and specialized loading and discharging port services, both on-peer but also with a then innovative middle-river cross-docking solution. Group ETE is today intensively present in all maritime activities in Portugal covering different areas of this sector.
We are proud to do our utmost to continue the tradition of Portugal in the Maritime sector, and we have expanded to other geographical areas such as Cape Verde, Mozambique, Colombia, Uruguay and Belgium.
Do you have offices in other countries than Portugal?
Indeed we have. As said, we have 9 offices in Continental Portugal with local operations teams as well as in Madeira and Azores and we are also present in Cape Verde with 5 offices, in Praia, Mindelo, Sal, Boavista and Santo Antão.
As a Group, we also have offices in Colombia, Belgium and Mozambique.
I understand that you are both a shipping agent and also a project freight forwarder. Can you tell our readers a little about some of the projects and/or ships that you have handled in recent times in Portuguese ports?
Yes. During the last few years, we have proudly been the shipping agent with the biggest market share in Portugal, about 20%, attending average 2,100 calls per year.
Being a project cargo freight forwarder means expanding the range and having the possibility of attending to the customer and the vessel in one single operation.
We have a lot of experience in and regularly handle cargoes of transformers, windmill parts, reservoirs, boats & yachts… Having said that, we are always looking for different,more challenging and demanding jobs.
We would like to highlight several recent projects: the loading/offloading of cranes from Aveiro to Lisbon port, the shipment to Uruguay of a pusher built on our Lisbon shipyard, and one of our most interesting projects was the discharge from vessel of an Hercules C130 and transport by barge to final destination.
Speaking of ports in Portugal, could you elaborate on which ports are generally used in your country for project and special cargoes?
The main port for project/special cargo in Portugal continues to be Leixões due to the fact that most of the heavy industry is located in this area and also because the connection between terminals requires only an internal transfer.
Aveiro Port has also been growing in the last years due to steel and windmill factories.
Anyway, at the moment, Portuguese ports are well-equipped and have staff prepared for the most difficult tasks, and we hope that in the future, Sines, due to its natural deep water conditions and location on the Atlantic front, may become an hub for special cargoes
The islands of Cape Verde and some of the most well-known countries in the world speak Portuguese due to a colonial past. Does that influence you in shipping. In other words, do you have to this day special relationships from a logistics point of view?
Portugal has very strong relationships with our sister countries such as Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tomé & Principe, Angola and Mozambique. This is due to our history but also due to the economic and social relations we have today which was built on a common heritage of the same language and culture.
There are also many Portuguese living in these countries as well as nationals from Portuguese-speaking African countries living in Portugal creating several strong links between our peoples and our communities.
The trade between our countries is very significant and that enhances, of course, the possibility of new logistics projects and investments. There are dedicated shipping lines – TRANSINSULAR, who also belongs to GRUPO ETE has a liner service from Portugal into Cape Verde for example – and many investments from several Portuguese companies in these markets. These markets are very well known to us, and we are for sure prepared to assist in any projects taking place in these countries – either directly via our branches or with the assistance of long-term established partners.
Mário, when did you start your career in shipping and what made you choose that career?
Well, I arrived in the shipping industry later than usual for most of us, at the age of 25, after a short career in accountancy and banking that wasn’t fulfilling me. I needed something different, not static and on permanent evolution, that allowed me to have a creative part in the process. Not disclosing my age, as I’m still very young, more than two decades have already passed, and I’m still here and learning new things every day.
The present days in our industry are taking us to higher challenges, with all effort and imagination required to create solutions. I like to think that I didn’t choose this career but this career chos me.
How should our readers get in touch with you?