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July 9, 2018

Major Expansion begins at Port of Paranagua in Southern Brazil

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

The Port of Paranagua, which is Brazil's second largest port after Santos, has been given the green light to begin construction on a major expansion of its three public berths. When completed, the R$ 177.6 million project could conceivable triple the amount of grain exported through the public corridor at the port.

The president of the port authority said that they have been waiting 28 years for this expansion, which was first proposed in 1990 and has undergone three different revisions. Berth 201 will be expanded in order to handle larger vessels and berth 202 will be modernized. The project will improve the competitiveness of agricultural products produced in Parana, Matos Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo, Santa Catarina, and Paraguay. The port is being forced to modernize due to increasing competition from new and expanding ports in northern Brazil known as the "Northern Arc" of ports.

The main focus of the project is a 100 meter extension of berth 201, which could then accommodate vessels of up to 80,000 tons. A new conveyor system and two new ship loaders would also be installed with each capable of loading 2,000 tons per hour. The two current ship loaders have a capacity of 1,000 and 1,500 tons per hour. The draft of the berths would be increased to 13.7 meters to accommodate the larger vessels.

The capacity of berth 201 would increase from its current capacity of 2 million tons per year to 6.5 million tons per year. The expansion of berth 201 and the modernization of berth 202 would then allow for more efficient usage of berth 203. Upon completion of this 18 month project, port authorities are estimating that the amount of grain exported through the public corridor could triple making the port of Paranagua the largest grain exporting port in Brazil.

Over the last several years, the port has already improved and expanded its intake system for both rail and truck deliveries. The famously long line of trucks waiting to deliver grain is a thing of the past. Today, trucks are only allowed into the port after being notified by a new computerized system.

Port authorities are now hoping that the expanded dock facilities will eventually eliminate the long lines of vessels waiting to load grain during the peak export season.