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August 8, 2013

"Cargo On-Line" Eliminates Lines of Trucks at Port of Paranagua

The Port of Paranagua in southern Brazil is one of Brazil's two main grain ports and it has gained the reputation over the years for long lines of trucks waiting to enter the port and long queues of vessels waiting to load grain. Last year, the port authorities implemented a "Cargo On-Line" system that seems to have solved the problem of long lines of trucks.

With the new system in place, any grain truck headed to the port must be preregistered on-line. The port then notifies the truck driver when he will be allowed to enter the port with his cargo. If the truck is not called to the port, they will not be allowed to enter the port to unload and then they would have to go to the back of the line so to speak. The trucks are coordinated so that there is a steady flow of grain that matches the availability of vessels.

Once a truck arrives at the port they are issued a number that helps facilitate the flow of trucks within the unloading area. The staging area within the port can accommodate 1,000 trucks and the turnover is relatively quick with approximately 2,500 trucks unloading at the port per day. Up to 100,000 tons of grain per day has moved through the port by truck during this years' export season.

During the first seven months of 2013, there have been 226,000 trucks that entered the port, but there have not been long lines and the average time to unload after entering the port has been less than eight hours. This is a tremendous improvement over prior years when the line of trucks at its worse reached up to 130 kilometers and then once inside the port, the average waiting time to unload was another 24 hours.

The trucking companies have readily embraced the new system because their drivers no longer wait in long lines allowing them to make more trips per month saving time, fuel, and money. In 2012 the Port of Paranagua shipped out 45 million tons of products and that is expected to double by the year 2020 after an ambitious expansion plan is completed.