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February 28, 2019

Traffic Problems Develop Once again on BR-163 in Northern Brazil

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

For the third year in a row, there are traffic problems once again on the unpaved section of BR-163 just south of the Amazon River in the state of Para. Hundreds of trucks and other vehicles heading north are reported to be stopped due to muddy conditions on a 10 kilometer unpaved section of the highway in a hilly area. It has been reported by So Noticias that truck drivers in the traffic jam indicate that it could be as long as 40 kilometers.

Recent rains have left an unpaved section of the highway in a hilly area too slippery for trucks to climb the steep slopes. The Brazilian military, who is in charge of paving the highway, has restricted the movement of trucks to prevent the problem from getting worse and they are assisting trucks one-by-one to ascend the hills.

According to the daily bulletin from the National Department of Infrastructure and Transportation (Dnit), traffic is stopped in both directions as heavy equipment assists trucks up the hills. A limited number of fully loaded trucks heading north are allowed through on a daily basis. A greater number of empty trucks heading south have been allowed through.

The Minister of Infrastructure in Brazil and Dnit have worked together with the Brazilian Army to put together a program in an effort to minimize problems on BR-163. The program started on December 2nd and it will continue until May when the rainy season generally ends. They have set up three bases of operations in critical areas staffed with 900 workers and over 40 pieces of heavy equipment and vehicles from Dnit and the Brazilian Army to help control the traffic and assist trucks as needed.

Between the border with Mato Grosso and the Port of Miritituba on the Tapajos River, there are 707 kilometers of which 49 kilometers that have not been asphalted. Between June and October of last year, 33 kilometers in the region was asphalted and the remaining 49 will be asphalted in 2019.

Highway BR-163 is the major highway linking the state of Mato Grosso with ports along the central Amazon River. Thousands of trucks per day carrying soybeans and corn head north on the highway to ports on the Amazon River.