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April 14, 2020

Low Water on Parana River Restrict Vessel Loading in Argentina

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The dry weather in southern Brazil and northern Argentina has resulted in low water levels on the Parana River which provides the access for the vast majority of Argentina's ports. The water level could drop to a 50-year low over the next two weeks resulting in three feet less draft available for vessels. Due to dredging operations, vessels are still loading at the ports near Rosario, but they are loading less tonnage. The three feet less draft means that a Panamax vessel must reduce its load by 7,500 tons.

The Brazilian National Weather Service is forecasting below normal rainfall in southern Brazil for the April-May-June period, so if that forecast verifies, then the water level on the Parana River will probably drop even further in the coming months.

Even if the rainfall in southern Brazil increases over the next few weeks, which is not the forecast, it would still take 20 to 30 days for the water to reach the Rosario region. Therefore, the restrictive loading of vessels at the Rosario ports will likely continue for several more weeks at least and the restrictions could get even worse.