March 18, 2014
Brazil Soybean Exports off to a Faster Start than Last Year
As the soybean export season gets underway in Brazil, there are very long lines of vessels at Brazilian ports waiting to load soybeans and soybean meal, but the number of vessels and the waiting times have declined compared to last year. According to SA Commodities, as of late last week, there were a total of 104 vessels waiting at the ports of Santos, Paranagua, Rio Grande, and Sao Francisco do Sul, which is 21% fewer than the 131 that were waiting last year at this time.
The lines may be shorter, but the waiting times are still excessively long. At the Port of Paranagua, the 63 vessels that are waiting to load soybeans or soybean meal will wait an average of 53 days to load with the longest wait being up to 70 days. At the Port of Santos where there are more berths to load soybeans, the 26 vessels waiting to load soybeans or soybean meal will wait an average of 21 days with a range of 7 to 46 days.
During the month of February, Brazil exported 2.8 million tons of soybeans, which set a new record for the month and during the month of March; the soybean exports could surpass 5.5 million tons. In February and March of 2013 Brazil exported 6.8 million tons of soybeans. Two major factors helped to propel the early soybean exports from Brazil, reduced volumes of corn exports and dryer weather. During the month of February, Brazil exported one million tons of corn which was one-third the amount of corn exported during January and less than half of the amount of corn exported in February 2013. The reduced corn exports allowed for more soybeans to move through the ports.
Dryer weather during February also contributed to increased exports. During the month of February at the Port of Santos, there were 15 days when rain occurred for a total of 143 mm (5.7 inches) compared to February of 2013 when it rained 275 mm (11.0 inches) on 23 days. At the Port of Paranagua a 168 mm (6.7 inches) of rain fell during February on 15 rainy days compared to February 2013 when 219 mm (8.7 inches) fell on 25 rainy days.
The Port of Rio Grande in southernmost Brazil has made significant improvements in its operations over the past year allowing it to surpass the Port of Paranagua last year as the second largest soybean exporting port in Brazil. The port has five berths that can load soybeans and they are planning on adding two more by 2017. The port is receiving soybeans not only from all across Brazil, but soybeans from Uruguay and northern Argentina are also being exported out of the port.