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July 16, 2015

Port of Paranagua Greatly Improves Receiving Facilities

The Port of Paranagua in southern Brazil has been famous over the years for the long lines of trucks clogging the highways that lead to the port, but those lines of trucks are now a thing of the past. The port has invested heavily over the last four years to successfully eliminate the bottleneck of trucks entering the port to unload soybeans, soybean meal, and corn.

Those improvements are now evident in the number of trucks entering and leaving the port. During the month of June, 44,700 trucks entered the port which is more than double the number of trucks that entered the port five years ago. June's numbers also beat the old record of 33,700 set in May of 2013. The combination of improved unloading facilities and a computerized system that alerts trucks to when they should arrive at the port has eliminated the long lines of trucks parked on the highways leading to the port.

The original staging area and unloading facilities at the port were constructed in the 1970's with little improvements until the current round of investments. The entire receiving system has now been upgraded with an improved and enlarged staging area, more dump pits, improved electrical and hydrologic systems, improved lighting, and security systems. Transportation companies and port officials alike are very pleased with the outcome.

The staging area can now accommodate 1,000 trucks simultaneously and 2,500 trucks per day. The testing and sampling of the grain has also been improved, which greatly reduces the time that the truckers have to wait to unload. On a more personal note, the amenities and security for the drivers have also been improved, which the truckers greatly appreciate.

At the Port of Paranagua, the staging area and amenities are a public function of the port and come at no cost to the drivers, whereas at the Port of Santos, it is operated by a private company which charges for the services. The Port of Paranagua is the second largest grain exporting facility in Brazil after the Port of Santos.

All the ports in southern Brazil are under pressure to improve their efficiency and reduce costs in order to compete with the "Northern Arc" of ports being developed on the Amazon River and in northeastern Brazil. These northern ports are expected to take market share away from the southern ports even though the overall grain production in Brazil continues to increase. In an attempt to maintain as much market share as possible, all the ports in southern Brazil have embarked on improvement projects.