Ports in the north are an option for grain

Logistics efficiency for the Brazilian crop flow doesn’t follow frequent production gains and grains production, entailing competition loss along productive chain. However, such scenario is gradually changing. Grain’s export through Arco Norte, comprised by Itacoatiara (Amazonas), Santarém, Itaituba, Santana, Outeiro, Vila do Conde (all from Pará) and Itaqui (Maranhão) ports, for example, are concrete alternatives to flow grains produced in the north of parallel 16 (imaginary line that crosses Mato Grosso, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Bahia and Distrito Federal), agribusiness’ old claim.

This sector option gained strength when activities in Terminal de Grãos do Maranhão (Maranhãos’ Grain Terminal), of Tegram – Itaqui venture, began its activities. “Planned 12 year ago, Tegram received investments above BRL 600 million”, said Luiz Claudio Santos, spokesperson of the venture.

He also said that the project has two phases. “The first is already concluded, occupying the port’s 103 berth, which was dug to reach 15 m in depth and to receive vessels carrying up to 80.000 ton. In site we also have four warehouses that house 500.000 ton.” According to Luiz Claudio Santos, this first phase can already flow 5 million tons of grains per year. “The second phase will occupy berth 100 and will be ready in the first half of 2014. Until 2020 we will move 10 million tons of soy, corn and bran per year.”

Santos estimated that between 70 and 80% of 100 million tons will be shipped at Ferrovia Norte-Sul. The remain will arrive by trucks. He highlights that the railway is under operation. “Each car can take 100 ton. Besides, the speed is above south’s railways. But the government still has to negotiate some sections.”

Little to complain. Sérgio Mendes, general director of Anec (National Association of Grain Exporters), states that, “although it seems unlikely, we don’t have much to complain, even though things are going in a slow pace.”

According to Mender, in 2015, around 4 million tons of soy and corn that would go to south and southeast ports are being flown by ports in the north, mainly de Itaqui (MA) and Vila do Conde, in Barcarena (Pará) terminals, running since the beginning of the year.

“This volume equals 114.000 trucks of 35 tons that no longer go to Santos and Paranaguá pots. That is why we always ask to modernize ports in the north.”

Mender also remembers that logistics to flow the production by the north is cheaper for the crop that leaves the so called Matropiba region, which gathers producers in the northeast of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia. “Short distances reduce CO2 emission, reduces traffic at south/southeast ports and city entrances along highways.”

He says that the country will export 96 million tons of soy, corn and bran in 2015. “To flow this volume we need to hire 2.7 million trucks and 1,700 overseas vessels. “He said that the count made in relation to the cost of road and water transportation is five times for the first and the second modal. “For this reason, the USA has great advantage. More than 60% of their flow follows the Mississippi River.

The same amount goes for our highways. To compensate the disadvantage, our producers must be efficient inside the country. “Edeon Vaz Pereira , executive director of Mato Grosso Pro-Logistics Movement says that the logistics for grain export still has problems, but is improving. “Our movement began in 2009, when BR-163 highway was still not paved (connecting Mato Grosso do Pará ports).

Since then it has evolved, but there are bottlenecks in unfinished sections. The same applies to BR-158 highway, which crosses the country from north to south. It had sections not paved, now under work. “Pereira acknowledges that there are government efforts to improve modals. “But lacks important works, such as locks on the Teles Pires – Tapajós Waterway and the collapse of Pedral Lourenço, in Tocantins Waterway. All this is moving at a slow pace. “He remembers that the private initiative sector has also made efforts. “Today, Porto Velho (Rondônia) has installed capacity for 12 million tons and Miritituba (Pará) 5.5 million tones. The latter will increase to 17.5 million tons by the end of 2017. By 2030, will reach 30 million tons/year. “

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