In addition to a direct flight between São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil and Dubai, to be operated by Emirates Airlines from October onwards, Brazil will also have a direct connection to the Arab world by sea.
The new route will reduce cargo transportation time and the freight costs. Beginning in February, French navigation company CMA CGM will offer a route linking Brazilian and Arab ports.
According to the company's commercial director in Brazil, Luiz Guilherme Pochaczevsky, by eliminating the need for transshipment in European or Mediterranean ports, the new route will save one week's worth of travel time and 20% in freight cost.
"There is an increasing flow of goods from Brazil to the Arab Gulf, as well as to India, and there was not any direct service," he said. Due to the growing trade and the increased demand for transportation to the region, the company decided to create the new line.
The route will pass by the ports of Rio de Janeiro, in the state by the same name, and Santos, in the state of São Paulo (both in southeastern Brazil), Paranaguá, in the state of Paraná, Itajaí, in the Santa Catarina state, and Rio Grande, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (the latter three in southern Brazil).
Then the ships will head straight to Salalah Port, in Oman, and then on to the Khor Fakkan Port, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, before reaching their final destination in Nhava Sheeva, India.
The decision of docking at the Salalah and Khor Fakkan ports was because the company already has operations in those ports, therefore it can tranship goods to other destinations in the Middle East.
The trip back to Brazil will include stops in Port Louis, in the Mauritius Islands, and in Durban, South Africa. The trip from Brazil to the first port along the way should take from 22 to 23 days, whereas the entire round trip should last 45 days.
The inaugural trip will take place on February 13th, and the first three trips will have 15-day intervals between them. From March 27th onwards, the route will have weekly trips. According to Luiz Guilherme, the company will employ seven ships in the route. Each ship will have capacity for approximately 18,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), 300 of which refrigerated.
In the assessment of the executive, the flagships will be poultry meat and bags of refined sugar. He also believes that there will be a large demand for transportation of steel, tiles, refractory glass, tractors and auto parts.
The executive also said that more than just navigation services, the company will provide complete logistics solutions, ranging from collection of goods at the supplying company to delivery at the final destination. That includes the outsourcing of roadway and railway transportation companies, etc. "This way, businessmen can concentrate solely in their businesses," he said.
Luiz Guilherme believes that the ships will leave Brazil with full capacity. His only concern is the trip back, since the company will only transport containers, and most exports from Arab countries to Brazil consist of bulk products, such as oil and derivatives. "Therefore, any incentive to imports from Asia and the Gulf region will be welcome," he claimed.
According to the executive, CMA CGM is the world's third largest maritime transportation company. The company had 5 billion euros in revenue in 2006, transported 5 million containers, operates with approximately 300 ships and has 10,000 employees.
The company has been present in Brazil since 2003 and has 20 offices throughout the country. Its operations employ 320 people. Last year, CMA CGM transported 205,000 containers of Brazilian cargo. "It is the company that grew the most in the sector in Brazil. The market is growing 10% a year, whereas we are growing 30%," he said.
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