It has not been easy, but «with resilience» and a spirit of union, the naval construction company Nautiber, from Vila Real de Santo António, never managed to stop its activity and overcame the challenges that arose during the pandemic.
About a year after Covid-19 changed everyone's lives, the Algarve shipyards continue to work and to contribute to exports and to the balance of the national trade balance.
However, warns Rui Roque, managing partner of Nautiber, the worst is yet to come and it is necessary for the country to repay the region's fiscal «strong contribution» to the national coffers over the years.
"If there was one region that was particularly affected by the pandemic, it was the Algarve, which essentially lives off tourism," he said.
“We always had very good tax contribution rates, we always contributed a lot to the country. It is time, in the end, for the country to give back to the Algarve and it is very important for that to happen», defended Rui Roque.
This outburst is made by a businessman who is an example of how the Algarve's economy does not have to depend exclusively on tourism and that there is room for industrial activities in the region.
Nauiber directly employs "70 people" and has "about a dozen indirect employees, subcontractors", revealed the entrepreneur, on the sidelines of the put down of the scientific ship “Deep Sea”, the most recent construction of these shipyards from Vilarreal.
The annual turnover of this company, which, on average, makes "ten to 12 boats a year", is "around seven million euros".
The company never stopped working, although it was also affected by the pandemic.
“We are currently struggling with a lack of equipment and material, with much higher acquisition costs than we need. The main consequence of the pandemic was this situation», said the businessman.
“But we always worked, we never stopped, we went around the problems that arose, there was that resilience and I think it was very important. I think that's what everyone should try to do,” he added.
At the moment, Nauiber has "14 vessels under construction, of which eight for export and the rest for the domestic market."
«There is a great weight of Angola, which, at the moment, is a fundamental market for us. We have seven vessels allocated to Angola and there is continuity in this work», revealed Rui Roque.
These are 'seine fishing vessels. For Angola, they are all seiners. Then we have a multipurpose, destined for Mozambique».
«It has a very positive side, which is the fact that it is an area where we feel very comfortable, but also a negative side, which is that you are very dependent on this market for your activity», illustrated the Algarve businessman.
This makes the other things, like the scientific ship lying overboard on Wednesday, "are so important".
However, the pandemic affected a segment that brought a lot of business to these VRSA shipyards, that of maritime tourism.
“Even so, we have four maritime-tourist vessels under construction. On the other hand, we had to understand the positions of the shipowners to whom we delivered vessels, in 2020, and give them other conditions», he explained.
In this way, Nautiber had to “go looking for solutions. Boats are useless to us, we have to deliver them and people have to work. There has to be a spirit of cooperation with these economic agents».
“There has been an effort here on the part of us and our suppliers. We are not alone, we all need each other and at these stages we have to come together and look for solutions. This is fundamental!», he framed.
“We can't start shooting this way and that. We have to be together in this effort», he concluded.