July 23, 2013

Port in Parana Gearing Up for Increased Fertilizer Imports

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

Declining meat exports from the Ponta do Felix terminal at the Port of Antonina in Parana has allowed the terminal to retool its operations in order to accommodate an anticipated influx of additional fertilizer imports. The Port of Antonina in southern Brazil is Parana's second port after the much larger and better known Port of Paranagua.

Meat exports from this terminal was exported on pallets to only Cuba and Russia, but since the discovery of a suspected case of mad cow disease in Parana late last year, the meat exports from the terminal declined to the point where a lot of the terminal was not being utilized. This allowed the operators to reconfigure the terminal to accept what is expected to be a large influx of imported fertilizers from primarily Russia. The modifications were made to accommodate a new contract with a Russian company that exports potassium chlorate. The new contract guarantees 10 million tons of fertilizers arriving at the terminal over the next ten years.

Today the fertilizer storage capacity at the Ponta do Felix terminal is 200,000 tons, but two more storage facilities are being built with a capacity of 120,000 tons each. New unloading machinery and additional storage capacity will allow for more year-round imports which will allow importers to ship fertilizers into the interior of Brazil during the off season when transportation costs are lower.

In anticipation of increased fertilizer imports, the Port of Antonina recently completed its first dredging project in 15 years. More than one million cubic meters of sediments were dredged allowing for a draft of more than eight meters. The private terminal operates 24 hours per day and during the first six months of 2013; it received 50 vessels, which is 29 more than an equal period in 2012.

Increased capacity in import fertilizers is good news for Brazilian farmers who suffered delays in receiving their fertilizer supplies before last growing season. The state of Parana is the point of entry for approximately 40% of the fertilizers utilized by Brazilian farmers and the fertilizer imports are destined for farmers in Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Goias.