March 27, 2012

Line of Trucks at Port of Paranagua Limited to 15 Kilometers

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

The Federal Road Police in the state of Parana has initiated a program called the 2012 Harvest Operation that will attempt to better organize and control the delivery of soybeans and corn to the ports of Paranagua and Antonina in the state of Parana. Over the years, the amount of truckers wanting to unload their cargos soybeans and corn at the Port of Paranagua general has far exceeded the capacity of the port and the result has been lines of trucks dozens of kilometers long.

In order to reduce congestion and limit the amount of trucks waiting to unload, the port started a program several years ago called Cargo Online where a transportation company or independent truckers were not allowed to proceed to the port until they had been authorized by the port. The program has generally worked well except for times of extended rainfall or mechanical breakdowns at the port. When something unexpected happens at the port, the lines of trucks can quickly swell to many kilometers long and that is what the Federal Road Police is attempting to avoid.

Under their command, during periods of extended rainfall when loading operations must be suspended, they are going to intervene in the Cargo Online system and limit the amount of trucks authorized to proceed to the port in an attempt to keep the line of trucks to less than 15 kilometers long.

Having lines of trucks waiting to unload that are many kilometers long, is an illustration of the woeful under capacity of many Brazilian ports. Soybean production in Brazil has nearly doubled over the last decade and yet the increased capacity to handle soybeans at the Port of Paranagua has not come close to keeping pace with the increased production.

There are many systemic problems at the Port of Paranagua. First and foremost is the fact that the port has a limited capacity due to too few berths, too few storage units, limited ability to unload trucks, and no covers for ships. Without these covers, loading operations must be halted any time there is a threat of rainfall. Long range plans for the port include increasing the number of public berths and installing covers for the berths so loading operations can proceed uninterrupted 24 hours per day. Those plans are still on paper and when they will be acted upon is uncertain.