APM Terminals (APMT) Pecém has set two consecutive records this year, despite the pandemic, with a best-ever September performance and then bettering itself with a best-ever October result.
The Ceará-based terminal handled 41,000 teu in September and then 46,705 teu in October, increasing its throughput by 7.9% year-on-year to total 309,051 teu for the first 10 months of 2020.
Meanwhile, in the south, APMT’s Itajaí grew double digits in 2020 and, up until October, it has moved more than 457,000 teu which is an increase of 13.4% compared to the 403,000 teu handled in the same period last year.
It is forecasted to beat the million mark by December and, similar to Pecém, it had its busiest month in October with 53,000 teu.
Growth has exceeded 200% on an accumulated basis between 2017 and 2020.
The port’s strategic location with the supply chain for the shipping lines and final clients is one of the key drivers behind the growth in Northeast Brazil.
Other factors include the bigger liners with larger load capacity, weaker Real, the economic recovery ahead of Black Friday, Christmas and New Year’s eve.
APMT Pecém has started to welcome larger ships, for example in August it received the biggest ship to berth at the state, MSC Shuba B, which had a length of 330 m and a 48.2 m beam.
The call from the large ship also marked the start of the fruit harvest in Ceará.
In terms of infrastructure Pecém has recently increased its terminal operational capacity, having inaugurated Pecém Port berth 10.
Daniel Rose, managing director for APMT Pecém, said: “To see the cranes running along the tracks was a milestone for APMT Pecém.
“The new berth 10 has an additional capacity of 300 m, positioning Pecém among a small select group of ports in Latin Amercia that can receive New Panamax vessels with draughts up to 15.3 m.”
Additionally, the new berth optimises the terminal’s window docking system which reduces the wait times at anchor.
Consequently, the 2020 recovery was bigger than expected according to APMT Pecém’s commercial director André Magalhães.
He said: “We did not expect such a strong and fast recovery at the start of the third quarter. Cabotage, with its six regular lines to Pecém, has resisted well the COVID-19 impact, consolidating itself as a logistics solution for the region.”
Numbers were also boosted by the key fruit harvest with melon, watermelon, grapes and mangoes from the São Francisco valley headed to the US and European markets.
“This year we started with 17% exports growth in mangoes to the US and APMT handled practically 70% of the whole São Francisco valley market,” Magalhães said. “In terms of melons, we moved 100% of the volumes this year thanks to bigger ships and a bigger commitment from shipping lines with local clients, avoiding port call cancellations.”
Reefer exports jumped 70% over the same period last year with 16,800 teu moved compared to the 9,900 in 2019.
In Itajaí, frozen goods exports and a comeback in imports in the second half dictated growth and, in terms of imports, APMT was the only one amongst Brazil’s 10 biggest ports to see growth according to Datamar.
Itajaí was also among the four of the 10 biggest terminal that saw an increase in exports, registering the largest growth at 21% according to Datamar up to August.
APMT’s Itajaí managing director Aristides Russi Júnior said that there were many reasons for this growth.
He noted: “We can cite many reasons including the weaker Real, strong industry especially in exports, but we also had an experessive increase in our market share increasing it among the ports of Santa Catarina which shows that APMT is consolidating in the region despite strong competition in the state.”
APMT Itajaí offers extra value-added services to its clients to help optimise the supply chain, diversify its products portfolio and allow the terminal to increase its net results.
Itajaí inaugurated its turning basin in 2020 which allows the terminal to receive ships of up to 350 m and with a 48 m beam, placing the terminal on the route of the biggest ships that sail the Brazilian coastline.
Additionally, APMT Itajaí invested BRL$14m (US$2.5m) in reach stackers in the second half of 2019 which has improved operational capacity.