January 14, 2011

New Governor of Parana Proposes Expanding Port of Paranagua

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

The newly installed governor of the state of Parana, which operates the ports of Paranagua and Antonina, recently visited the port and stated his intension to expand and modernize the port making it once again Brazil's premier export facility. The Port of Paranagua has been plagued over the years with bottlenecks, inadequate infrastructure, limited capacity, and high costs. In recent years, it has lost a significant amount of business to other Brazilian ports especially the Port of Santos in the state of Sao Paulo.

In an effort to jump start the modernization program, the governor authorized emergency dredging activity to begin at the port immediately. The R$ 2.5 million project will focus on dredging the docking berths and it is expected to last ten days. A more long term dredging project has also being proposed for the channel that leads to the port. The state government has already requested an environmental permit, which will take at least three months to be issued. Once the environmental permit is issued, port officials have allocated another three months to obtain bides on the R$ 100 million project and an additional eight months to complete the project.

The governor is also looking at more long term projects that could nearly double the capacity of the port. He has authorized a study to look at the feasibility of expanding the port from 20 berths to 32 berths. The proposed expansion would increase the capacity of the port from its current 38 million tons per year to 60 million tons per year.

The Port of Paranagua is the principal grain exporting port of Brazil moving soybeans, soybeans meal, corn, sugar, and frozen meat products into the export market. It also serves as a primary point of entry for the 70% of Brazilian fertilizers that are imported.