June 7, 2013

Copersucar to Expand Sugar Terminal at Port of Santos

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

Earlier this week, Copersucar initiated construction to expand its sugar terminal at the Port of Santos in southeastern Brazil. The goal of the expansion is to double the capacity of the terminal within two years. When the R$ 2 billion expansion plan is complete in 2015, the company will be able to export 10 million tons of sugar per year from the facility. The new volume would represent 17% of the world's sugar exports and 42% of the sugar exports from southeastern Brazil. For the current production year, the terminal is expected to export 7.5 million tons of sugar.

As part of the overall expansion and modernization, new facilities will be built to more quickly unload arriving sugar. Currently, 20% of the sugar arriving at the terminal does so by rail, but that is expected to jump to 70% when the new facility is completed. Once operational, they will have the capacity to unload six rail cars simultaneously, which will reduce the time that a train is at the facility from the current 30 hours to 16 hours. The overall unloading capacity will increase from 18,000 tons per day to 36,000 tons per day.

According to company estimates, the increased use of rail transport will eliminate 100,000 trips per year of sugar-hauling trucks through congested urban areas located between the production fields in northern Sao Paulo state and the port.

The plan also calls for a third shiploader to be installed. The new shiploader will allow for larger vessels to be loaded. The new equipment will have the capacity to load 3,000 tons per hour compared to 2,400 tons per hour for the two existing shiploaders combined. The rate of loading vessels will increase from 40,000 tons per day to 60,000 tons per day.

The company will also install retractable covers that can be deployed during periods of wet weather. Currently, loading operations must be suspended and the holds of the ships closed any time there is threat of wet weather. The new covers will allow loading operations to proceed uninterrupted during wet weather. The company estimates that loading operations were suspended for approximately 30% of the time during the first three months of 2013 due to wet weather.