February 25, 2013

Port of Paranagua Launches Plans for Modernizing Port

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

The governor of the state of Parana, Beto Richa, authorized last week the start of the bidding process to expand and modernize the Export Corridor at the Port of Paranagua. The Export Corridor is the public portion of the port run by the state of Parana. It currently has three berths, but that will expand to seven berths when the expansion project is complete. The centerpiece of the expansion will be a new "T" shaped pier that will extend 400 meters into the ocean from the present pier.

The new pier would provide four new berths for vessels too large to use the present berths. At the new pier, one of the berths will be able to handle "cape size" vessels with the capacity of 110,000 tons of grain. The other three berths will be able to handle "post Panamax" vessels, which have the capacity of 75,000 tons of grain.

The new pier will have eight shiploaders including six with capacity of 2,000 tons per hour and two with the capacity of 3,000 tons per hour. When fully operational, the expanded export corridor will be able to load 16,000 tons of grain per hour.

Port officials see this modernization as necessary to accommodate what is expected to be continued expansion of Brazil's grain production. At the same time, the Brazilian government is in the process of privatizing all the grain terminals at the Brazilian ports. The government views privatization as a way to improve efficiency and reduce costs at the ports. The unions representing workers at the ports are opposed to the government's privatization plans and are threatening work stoppages until their concerns over job security are addressed.