February 16, 2012

Vessel Damages Ship Loaders at Port of Santos in Brazil

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

A grain vessel collided with two ship loaders at the Guaruja Grain Terminal at the Port of Santos on Monday night at 10:00 pm. The collision completely destroyed one of the ship loaders and partially damaged a second. The terminal has four ship loaders and two remained undamaged, but the terminal has been shut down since the accident due to security concerns. There is no estimate as to when the terminal will resume loading vessels.

The vessel is a 65,000 tons grain hauler that was docking to load soybeans destined for China. The MV Milagro was being assisted by two tug boats when the control tower of the ship struck and destroyed one of the ship loaders that subsequently fell into the water. The vessel suffered only minor damage and is expected to be repaired within three days.

Port officials expect only minor delays in loading grain at the port because their most busy time for loading soybeans and corn won't start until next month and other terminals at the port should be able to increase loadings that would partially compensate for the damaged ship loader. The soybean and corn harvest is just now getting underway in Brazil and exports will really gain strength in March and April.

The Port of Santos and the Port of Paranagua are the two main grain exporting facilities in Brazil. Any delays in loading vessels at either port due to accidents such as this or rainy weather could result in U.S. exporters gaining a few extra cargos of soybeans and corn.