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July 19, 2017

Port of Paranagua continues its Modernization with new Dump Pits

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

The Port of Paranagua, which is Brazil's second largest grain port after the Port of Santos, has invested R$ 624 million since 2011 in an effort to remain competitive with the new "Northern Arc" of ports coming online in northern Brazil.

As part of the ongoing efforts to modernize and increase the capacity of the Port of Paranagua, a new system of unloading trucks started operations this week. With this new system, the number of trucks that can be unloaded daily will almost double. This is very important for trucking companies that have long complained about the extended period of time required to get their trucks unloaded at the port.

The port will now have the capacity to unload 700 trucks per day compared to 400 per day previously. The expanded system, which cost R$ 22 million, will include two new entrance balances, new dump pits, now conveyor systems, and new exit balances. Under the old system, they could unload five trucks at a time which would take 12-20 minutes depending on the type of grain. With the new system up and running, those same five trucks will be unloaded in 5 minutes.

Since 2011, the public part of the port has invested in not only new dump pits, but also in new shiploaders, the docks have been reformed, new balances and conveyor systems have been installed, and they have dredged the berths and the canal leading to the berths.

Reforms have also been more than new equipment, they have also changed the way the port operates. Several years ago they started an "express line" for vessels that would load grain from a limited number of warehouses. Prior to the change, any vessel at any of the three public berths might load grain from many different warehouses, which slowed down the loading process. Installing an express line greatly increased the capacity of the port.

They also implemented a new computer system that notified truckers when they were allowed to enter the port. If a truck arrives at the port without prior permission, they will not be allowed to enter the port. Prior to the new system, there was a "mad dash" to the port during the harvest season resulting in traffic jams of trucks as long as 100 kilometers. Those long lines of trucks no longer exist.

All of these efforts are part of the port's efforts to remain competitive with the Port of Santos and the new ports in northern Brazil. The Port of Santos has an advantage because it is serviced by the Ferronorte Railroad, which is the only railroad coming out of the state of Mato Grosso. The ports in northern Brazil have an advantage because they are closer to the production areas in central Brazil.

In order to remain competitive, the state of Parana, which operates the port, decided that the entire port needed to upgrade and modernize its operations