June 18, 2013

Accident at Port of Santos May Give Longer Tail to Brazil Exports

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

After enduring numerous logistical problems in attempting to transport, store, and export a record large 2012/13 soybean crop, the Port of Santos suffered another blow earlier last week. A Brazilian flagged grain vessel lost propulsion and collided with a Panama flagged vessel that was being docked to load soybeans. The two vessels then collided with one of the two shiploaders at the berth and an integral part of the shiploader was ripped off and fell into the water. The two shiploaders are used to load soybeans from Warehouse #38.

The destroyed part was retrieved by divers the same day and the cost of the destroyed equipment is estimated at R$ 700,000. The Capitan of the Ports of Sao Paulo has opened an inquiry into the accident which should be concluded within 90 days. No timetable has been announced as to when the damaged shiploader will be repaired.

The Port of Santos is the principal Brazilian port for the export of sugar and grain. In 2012, the port handled 40.5 million tons of sugar, corn, soybeans, soybean meal, and soybean oil, which represented 56% of the total exports from the port. Container movement accounted for 30% of the pors exports.

It is anticipated that some of the vessels originally scheduled to load soybeans from Warehouse #38 at Santos may be directed to the Port of Paranagua instead. Officials at the Port of Paranagua, which is just down the Brazilian coast from Santos, have not yet been officially asked for assistance in taking over some of loading operations, but they stated they are open to discussions.

The loss of one shiploader is an inconvenience, but in the big picture it is not a major event. The end result of this accident is the fact that the export tails of both soybeans and corn from Brazil might end up being a little longer than if the accident had not occurred.