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March 11, 2011

Long Lines of Trucks Once Again at Port of Paranagua

Long lines of trucks at the Port of Paranagua in southern Brazil were thought to be a thing of the past, but recent wet weather on the coast of Brazil has resulted once again in lines of trucks waiting to unload grain at the port.

The fundamental problem at the port is that loading operations must be suspended during periods of rain. There are no covers for the ships so the holds of the ships must be closed if there is a chance of rain. For a vessel that holds 60,000 tons of grain, the normal loading time at the port is 36 hours, but earlier this week it was taking 5 days to load a vessel between showers. The average loading rate at the port is 100,000 tons per day, but on Monday, that had dropped to just 22,000 tons due to the wet weather.

In addition to persistent wet weather, congestion at the port is expected to worsen this year due to increased grain production in Brazil and anticipated increased grain exports. Officials at the Port of Paranagua are expecting a 20% increase in grain exports in 2011 including: soybeans, corn, wheat, soybean meal, and sugar. The total volume of grain exports at the port are expected to be 28 million tons in 2011.

On Wednesday morning (March 9) the line of trucks waiting to unload at the Port of Paranagua stretched 30 kilometers along highway BR-277 leading to the port. The line diminished to 19 kilometers on Thursday and the lines are expected to dissipate if the weather remains dry for several more days.

Wet weather has not only caused delays in grain exports, it has also delayed the soybean harvest in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. It has also resulted in delays in planting the second crop of corn following the soybean harvest.