Brazil announced it will promote the country's ship building industry not only to supply vessels and oil rigs for domestic demand but to export them to the rest of Latinamerica.
"We've started a new policy to promote the building of new shipyards and updating existing ones so we can have a strong ship-building industry both for the local market and for exporting to other South American countries", said President Lula da Silva. "Brazil has the potential, technology and therefore we have a comparative advantage in world markets in a strategic sector such as is the manufacturing of oil rigs and other support vessels". Lula da Silva made the announcements in his weekly radio program mentioning that last week he visited the state of Rio Grande so Sul in the south of the country for the opening ground ceremony of a new dry dock which will supply oil rigs and other maritime equipment for the development of deep sea huge oil and gas fields discovered offshore in the Atlantic area. Brazil's government oil corporation Petrobras which exploits most of the country's oil and gas resources and has discovered giant deposits in the Atlantic Ocean is behind the project to develop the naval industry in Rio Grande do Sul. Besides oil rigs Petrobras has contracted 26 new vessels for its merchant fleet. "We're talking of the rebirth of the Brazilian fleet and the empowerment of our maritime interests". President Lula da Silva said Brazil must pay every year over 8 billion US dollars in freight because it doesn't have the necessary cargo vessels. "It's not possible for a country which ships 95% of its exports by sea doesn't have Brazilian flagged vessels", said Lula da Silva. In the seventies Brazil's merchant fleet was among the world's top five but without support, incentives the industry begun to collapse and "reached the year 2.000 with a mere thousand workers in the whole industry". President Lula da Silva said that Petrobras oil rigs have an average international cost of a billion US dollars but built in Brazil 50 to 100 million US dollars could be shaved from the final price. "And that does not include resources, jobs, taxes and technology development for the naval industry". "We must look ahead to the strengthening of the Brazilian nation and in treasuring the scientific and technological knowledge we have", said Lula da Silva who added that "Brazil in the short term will become the main reference in oil rig and vessels for the industry; our naval development can be and will be as successful as our air industry which manufactures and exports aircrafts all over the world", he concluded.