At the meeting a new proposal was tabled that the turning circle be built further downriver, in front of the “Saco da Fazenda” Bay. Not only was it a wider area of the river, but it would only involve around half a dozen relocations. One possible drawback could have been that ships, instead of moving about 1km astern, would have to go twice this distance. However, a feasibility study by Dutch Arcadis Consultancy not only concluded there would be no problem with this maneuver but the Pilots participating in the study also gave their approval to the new site.
Despite port volumes increasing this year with an all-time record of record of 103,000 teu handled in both terminals with good prospects of reaching 1.2m teu by the end of 2013, there is growing concern at the prospect of losing future business because of the growing number of larger vessels plying the Brazilian Coast. In fact, a recent study by the Port Authority indicates that if the port does not adapt to receiving larger vessels, this volume could be only 300,000 boxes (480,000 teu) by 2017. But with the right facilities in place, larger vessels will be able to call the port, and volumes could grow to 800,000 boxes (1.28m teu) by 2017 and 1.2m boxes (1.92m teu) by 2030.
According to CM sources, the Port Authority hopes to release a tender for the construction of the new turning circle by the end of this year and commence works early 2014 with 18 months for conclusion.