sexta-feira, 8 de junho de 2018

Dragagens no início do século XX

Postal "Macau" com 4 ilustrações alusivas aos trabalhos de dragagem para os grandes aterros da década de 1920 relativos aos trabalhos dos Portos de Macau. Nas imagens: Draga Impulsora; Dragagem em Macau-Siac; Bacia Sul do Patane e Testas dos Estaleiros.

Sugestão de Leitura: 
Macao and its harbour : projects planned and projects realized (1883-1927) 
Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient Année,1991 
de que reproduzo aqui a parte da conclusão:
Mapa de 1925

(...) With the construction of the Porto Exterior in the 1920s and the improvement of harbour facilities in the Porto Interior, Macao, no doubt, changed its appearance, but the original aim behind the harbour works was not achieved: Macao's external trade did not develop in the way that it had been hoped for, nor did the gap between Macao and Hong Kong narrow. Macao's infrastructure had improved but the economic benefits deriving from these improvements were minimal. Some technical and political problems always remained, the international press was not in favour of Macao, and most Portuguese felt disappointed. One even commented: "O porto de Macau para nada serve, senào para nos atormentar." In short, Hong Kong remained the leading port in the area and Macao continued to rely on Hong Kong for much of its trade with countries other than China.

Instead of reviving its international connections, Macao had become a fishing port with thousands of Chinese fishing vessels, mostly small wooden boats, going in and out every year. In 1930, around thirty percent of Macao's exports were generated by these fishermen. True, some steam ships also called at the Portuguese colony but these ships were rather small in size and it was always difficult to maneuver them in and out of the harbour. Some of Macao's efforts to open new international cargo lines even came close to a tragicomedy: "Um agente de navegaçâo holandês, Van Genepp, anunciou um dia a abertura de praça para о transporte de carga de Macau para Singapura. О navio veio ao porto artificial de Macau, e a carga embarcada nâo foi além de 5 toneladas!" And another case: "Quando о Pêro de Alenquer estava em Macau, anunciámos com a dévida antecedência que о navio traria carga para Lisboa mediante preços módicos. Tôda a carga que ali metemos andou à volta de 200 toneladas, e esta na quasi totalidade constituida por mobilias e objectos pessoais de funcionários da Colónia!"41

Certainly, until the 1960s regular shipping services existed between Macao and Lisbon with two or three ships arriving each year in Macao but almost no major cargo or passenger ship would come in from places other than Lourenço Marques, Timor, Goa, or Lisbon. There were plans, or rather dreams, to intensify traffic between Timor and Macao but Timor was so remote and so backward that such dreams had no chance of fulfillment.42 In the fifties, Macao's textile industry began to expand but at that time most of Macao's exports, mainly cheap consumer goods, went to Portuguese overseas territories, not to leading industrial countries. Moreover, a good deal of these exports were channelled through Hong Kong. Macao's role in international trade remained marginal.

In 1949 an economist wrote on Macao:43 "O porto ainda era frequentado em 1866 рог 238 navios, sendo 53 de guerra e 185 de mercantes (sem contar os da carreira de Hongkong) com uma tonelagem de 87.543 toneladas, percentes as seguintes nacionalidades: 43 ingleses, 28 espanhóis, 23 franceses, 20 hamburgueses, 16 holandeses, 11 Portugueses, 10 italianos, 8 bremenses, 6 prussianos, 6 russos, 4 americanos, 2 peruanos, 2 siameses, 2 havaianos, 1 belga, 1 hanoveriano, 1 dina- marquês e 1 chileno. Hoje, o movimento de navegaçâo é quase limitado aos barcos de pesca e aos navios de carreira de Macau-Cantâo e Macau-Hong Kong." And he continues: "É nisto tudo que consiste о fatalismo fluvial de Macau."

Whether, in the end, it was really the "fatal" river deposits that caused the decline of Macao's harbour in terms of its "internationality", is difficult to tell. In 1866 Macao still traded in opium and kulis. When improvements of the harbour began, trade in these two "commodities" had almost come to an end and no goods equally significant for both the domestic market and for overseas markets were found to replace these two. Macao had "missed the boat" and the construction of the Porto Exterior came too late to revive Macao's entrepôt function. It certainly came at a time when Hong Kong had already diversified its own trade and when chances of diverting some of that trade from the attractive business environment of the British colony to the tiny and backward peninsula of Macao were minimal.
Notas:
41 Both quotations from Freitas Morna, O porto exterior, p. 14. (42) See, for ex., Gama, "Macau e o seu porto", p. 90; Freitas Morna, O porto exterior, pp. 14-15. (43) Lobo, "A économie de Macau", p. 14.

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