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February 19, 2018

Exports from Brazil's "Northern Arc" of Ports up 71% in 2017

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

The Brazilian National Water Transportation Agency (ANTAQ) reported last week that in 2017 there was a huge increase in the amount of cargo exported out of Brazil's "Northern Arc" of ports.

ANTAQ reported that the amount of corn shipped out of these northern ports increased 71.8% in 2017 compared to 2016 and that the amount of soybeans shipped out of these ports increased 31.5% in 2017. For all the ports in Brazil, the amount of cargo increased 8.3% in 2017.

The "Northern Arc" of ports currently consists of six ports on Amazon River and its tributaries that export grain and one along the northern Atlantic Coast of Brazil. The amount of cargo moving through these ports increased 80% in 2017 with the majority of the cargo being soybeans and corn.

Here is a list of Brazil's "Northern Arc" of grain ports from west to east:

  • Porto Velho located on the Madeira River in the state of Rondonia. This the port furthest upstream and from this port, grain is barged to ports further downstream on the Amazon River.
  • Itacoatiara on the Amazon River in the state of Amazonas. Grain is loaded onto ocean going vessels at this port which is operated by Amaggi.
  • Miritituba on the Tapajos River in the state of Para. This port is the final destination for most of the trucks that proceed north out of Mato Grosso on Highway BR-163. Numerous companies have barging operations at this port that transport grain to ports further downstream on the Amazon River.
  • Santarem on the Amazon River in the state of Para. Ocean going vessels transport grain out of this port where Cargill has a major grain terminal. Santarem is the third largest city on the Amazon River.
  • Barbacena located on the southern channel at the mouth of the Amazon River near the city of Belem in the state of Para. Ocean going vessels transport grain out of this recently expanded port.
  • Macapa located on the norther channel at the mouth of the Amazon River in the state of Amapa. Grain exporters have just recently started using this port for grain exports.
  • Itaqui on the northern Atlantic Coast just south of the mouth of the Amazon River. This port is located at the city of Sao Luis in the state of Maranhao. This is a deep water ocean port and it is already a major export hub for iron ore and it is destined to become one of Brazil's largest grain export facilities, only surpassed by Santos and Paranagua in southern Brazil. It already has a rail line linking the port to grain producing regions of central and northeastern Brazil. This port will be the largest port in Brazil's Northern Arc of ports.

Many of the operations at these ports are being expanded in anticipation of increasing volumes of grain being shipped north out of central Brazil. There are numerous infrastructure projects either underway or in the planning stages to move grain north out of central Brazil including: paving of Highway BR-163 connecting Mato Grosso with the Amazon River, the proposed "Grain Railroad" connecting Mato Grosso with the Amazon River, in addition to several proposed waterways where barging operations are planned.