Saturday , 18 January 2020
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The Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA) that represents Brazil's rural producers is warning of the risk of a "port blackout" and the country's decreased ability to compete in the international market unless Congress passes a new legislation that proposes the opening of ports to private capital and the modernisation of the industry's administration.

Brazil’s ports must have private investment

Despite being the second largest agribusiness exporter in the world, Brazil has invested little into the port sector in recent years, resulting in the country’s ports being highly inefficient compared to other international terminals and subsequently increased food exporting costs.

Faced with this reality, the CNA has launched the Zarpa Brasil! + Competitividade (Set Sail Brazil, More Competitiveness) campaign, with other representatives from the manufacturing sectors of Brazil’s economy who support the passing of Provisional Measure 595 by Congress.

The president of the CNA, Senator Kátia Abreu, emphasised that the country is ranked 130th in terms of port quality, according to the World Economic Forum. She says that Brazilian ports will need to double their capacity within seven years if they are to match the rate of growth in demand seen over the past decade.

Abreu believes the problem has arisen through a combination of errors, such as low investment in the port sector, which has totalled just Reais5bn (US$2.48bn) in the last ten years. This is the same figure that is currently being paid out for the construction of three football stadiums scheduled for the 2014 World Cup, to be held in Brazil.

The senator argues that the construction of new private ports will increase competition in the port sector, including for public ports. This should lead to a fall in handling costs at the terminals, as well as increase port efficiency and operational capacity in order to meet the increase in demand for the coming years.

“Public ports are essential, but cargo transport will double over the next seven years, and this only reinforces the urgent need for more ports”, the senator added.

Luiz Antônio Fayet, a CNA infrastructure and logistics consultant, believes that one of the port sector’s main problems is the waiting time faced by ships at port when loading or unloading cargo. The cost of berthing 100 ships for the respective waiting time – between 15 and 20 days – is practically the equivalent of that involved in building a new terminal.

According to Fayet, transport costs in Brazil, from the farm to the port, are four times higher than in the US and Argentina.