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February 7, 2019

Port of Paranagua and Rumo Railroad Expanding Operations

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

As part of its ongoing upgrade of operations, representatives from the Ports of Paranagua and Antonina and the Rumo Railroad are working together to increase the amount of grain and cargo that moves into and out of the ports by rail.

The Port of Paranagua is Brazil's second largest port after Santos and currently 80% of the sugar arrives at the port by rail, 35% of the corn, 28% of the soybeans, 18% of the soybean meal, 12% of the containers, 4% of the vegetable oil, and 2% of the fertilizers. Their goal is to increase the amount of cargo transported by rail while at the same time reduce the impact of train traffic on local streets within the city of Paranagua. The tonnage moved by rail into and out of the ports increased by 20% over the past four years to 10 million tons in 2018.

For its part, Rumo has plans to upgrade all facets of its operations at the port. They are currently upgrading their tracks through the coastal mountain range that separates the coastline from the interior. The current locomotives used by Rumo average 35 years old and they are in the process of purchasing new locomotives with greater capacity and better acceleration and breaking. The new locomotives are more environmentally friendly as well by emitting 60% less exhaust.

Rumo is also going to change out their grain cars. They want to double the capacity of each car which would increase each train's capacity by eight thousand tons. Currently, each car has the capacity of 45 tons of grain or 5 tons more than a truck. To load a typical vessel, it now takes 1,500 train cars or 1,800 trucks. If they could increase the capacity of the grain cars, it reduces the number of trucks entering and leaving the ports, which would help to reduce congestion on city streets.

The Port of Paranagua is currently adding a fourth berth to the Export Corridor, expanding its current berths, and dredging the berths and the cannel leading to the port in order to accommodate larger vessels of up to 80,000 tons. The port needs to improve its capacity and efficiency in order to stay competitive with the Port of Santos and the new "Northern Arc" of ports on the Amazon River and along the northern Atlantic Coast of Brazil.