Despite Bottlenecks, Brazil’s Ports Break Records

Brazilian ports have registered record cargo throughput, including that of greater added value products, like cars. The port of Santos, in the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo, for example, registered the shipping of 200,633 vehicles from January to October this year, representing an increase of 28.6% in comparison to the same period in 2003.

With regard to container throughput, the increase was 23.1%, totalling 1.046 million units.


These operations made the “general cargo” throughput (products excluding grain) grow 29.8% to 22 million tons, in the first ten months, representing 38.2% of all the cargo moved at the port. In 2003, this percentage was 34.6%, against 43.8% of dry bulk and 21.6% of liquid bulk.


In all, in the first ten months of the year, the port had a throughput of 57.5 million tons, representing a growth of 15.3%, when compared to the same period in 2003. The growth points at a closing for the year of close to 70 million tons, a historic record.


With the shipping of greater added value products, the port of Santos also represents a greater share of Brazilian foreign trade.


According to figures supplied by the São Paulo State Port Authority (Codesp), which controls the port, from January to October, between exports and imports, port participation was 27.2%, the largest since 1997.


In terms of the export flow alone, the share of Santos port this year rose to 28.2%, also the largest in the last seven years. In both flows, in 2004, Santos had a turnover equivalent to US$ 35.4 billion, or 7.4% of the Brazilian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accumulated in the period. This does not include coastal shipping. In 2003, these operations totalled almost 10 million tons of varied cargo.


In October, when there was an 11% increase, the port reached 6 million tons of throughput and consolidated its leadership in sugar exports, which reached 9.06 million tons in ten months, or over 32.3%. The volume of sugar already exceeds the total for 12 months in 2003.


Another agricultural commodity with high performance was soy meal, which grew 48.7% this year to date, to 3.2 million tons. Soy in grain, however, shrank 1.05%, to 5.4 million tons.


In imports, bulk wheat, in 2004, dropped 45.2%, to 906,400 tons, whereas sulphur rose 21.7%, to 1.3 million tones, and fertilizers rose 4%, to 2.3 million tons.


Paraná


The port of Paranaguá, in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná, has also been registering throughput increases. According to the port business director, Luiz Henrique Dividino, this year, throughput has already totalled 30 million tons of products, which generated US$ 7.3 billion.


“General cargo” alone represented 32% expansion of throughput when compared to last year. The forecast is to end the year with revenues of US$ 8.4 billion.


The director attributed this expansion to speed, low cost, and safety at the port. So as to strengthen these advantages, the port is executing various projects integrating logistics with multi-mobility.


For 2005, the forecast is to increase the flow of soy by 5 million tons and “general cargo” by 2 million tons.


Within this plan, according to Divino, two projects are being sent to the Presidential Chief of Staff’s Office, one for the construction of a new horizontal silo and the other for the paving of the port area, with the recovery of 168,000 square metres of area, including draining, placing of hydrants, electric installations, and replacement of flooring.


At the beginning of last week, the Administration of the Ports of Paranaguá and Antonina (Appa) signed contracts with the states of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás (three midwestern states) and with Bahia (in northeastern Brazil) to export leather, wood and cotton through Paranaguá.


The contracts will add, in two years time, around 3 million tons of general cargo to the volume normally moved by the port, generating funds for the state of Paraná and, most important, generating more jobs in Paranaguá.


The increase of the operation, with the arrival of more products from other states, will also compensate a possible reduction in the flow of soy, forecasted for next year, due to the drop in prices – and will strengthen Paranaguá port on the foreign scenery.


Pernambuco


In the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, the port system has presented growth of 12% between January and October.


In the first ten months of 2004, throughput has totalled 4.832 million tons in the ports of Suape and Recife, against 4.314 million in the same period in 2003.


The results in October are also positive, with 544,900 tons, a growth of 26% over the 431,200 tons registered in the same month last year.


According to the state Economic Development Secretariat, the throughput of cargo destined to export was mainly responsible for this growth. The export volume totalled 1.3 million tons, against around 871,000 tons in 2003, a growth of 57.2%.


“Exports were undoubtedly the main generators of movement in Brazilian ports in 2004, and this was not different in Pernambuco,” stated the state secretary of Economic Development, Alexandre Valença. Imports, in turn, remained practically stable at around 3.4 million tons.


Sugar, which is traditionally the main product in the state of Pernambuco export basket, is still the main player, with 512,400 tons shipped, against 241,800 in the same period last year, an increase of 111.8%.


A total of 393,900 tons of sugar was exported in bulk, representing growth of 120.3% in total, and 118,500 bags of sugar, an increase of 88%.


Among the cargos imported, the one that presented the greatest result was barilla (sodium carbonate, used for the production of soap and glass, among other products), which rose from 71,100 tons to 105,200 tons, or 48.1% more.


When analysing the kind of cargo, containers are still the main volume, with 22.6% growth, from 95,400 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) to 117,000 TEUs.


Another indicator of the good moment for the ports of Pernambuco is the 12.7% increase in the number of vessels docked. A total of 895 vessels docked from January to October this year, against 794 in the same period in 2003.


Investment


According to Wilen Manteli, president of the Brazilian Association of Port Terminals (ABTP), work groups have been studying bottlenecks that may be removed in the short term, with low investment, at 11 of the main ports in the country, responsible for 89% of domestic exports.


“The planning resulted in an action plan that will consume approximately US$ 22.5 million in public funds up to the end of 2004, US$ 51 million in 2005 and US$ 28 million in 2006,” he said.


According to Manteli, the return to investment in infrastructure, especially in the area of logistics (ports, airports, railways and highways), will be one of the four government priorities for 2005.


According to him, the federal government plans to invest US$ 143.5 million in the expansion and modernization of 11 Brazilian ports in 2005, as well as trying to obtain another US$ 143.5 million from the Union’s General Budget for the next year, for the same purpose.


ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency

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