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March 25, 2013

Judge Orders Port of Santos to Eliminate Lines of Trucks that Average 20 Kilometers

Officials from the Port of Santos Operations Center, which is in charge of logistics at the port, continue to be frustrated by their inability to eliminate the long lines of trucks waiting to unload grain at the port. Congestion at the port has led to long lines of trucks averaging 20 kilometers along the main highway leading to the port in southeastern Brazil. Officials blame the long lines on trucks heading to the Port of Santos rather than the Port of Paranagua and grain companies that have not built staging areas off-site for trucks waiting to unload. With an off-site staging area, the trucks can wait until they are called to unload, without a staging area, the trucks park along the side of the highway waiting their turn to unload.

Last Thursday (March 21), the Public Minister from the state of Sao Paulo asked for a local judge to order the Port of Santos Operations Center to eliminate the lines of trucks waiting along the side of the highway. A local judge agreed and gave the Operations Center 48 hours to resolve the situation or face a fine of R$ 50,000 for each truck parked along the side of the highway. The judge stated that the companies were "using the highway as their parking lot instead of reducing the number of trucks arriving at their terminals or providing adequate parking facilities for their deliveries."

A similar problem at the Port of Paranagua was resolved this year when the port instituted a "Cargo Online" system in which all trucks must be registered into the system before they will be allowed to proceed to the port. Each truck is called to the port only after there is a vessel confirmed to take their grain. If a truck arrives at the port without first being registered into the system, they will not be allowed to enter the port to unload their cargo. This system has eliminated the long lines at the port by forcing trucks to wait further inland.

The Port of Santos does not have a system regulating the number of trucks arriving at the port.