Monday, May 3, 2010

Port de Santos

[LAIST Tour Begins, Fazenda Tozan, Churrascaria – Nova Pampa, Port of Santos, Deloitte, Embraer, Natura, Gol de Letra, Bom Bril, Agencia Click, Nextel Institute, May 6, Rio, Rio Weekend, Petrobras, PREVI]

Chinese Feng Shui associates water with money, with its ebbs and flows representing the movement and acquisition of fortune and wealth. At first I had always thought this was a crazy superstition, but some of the most prosperous cities in the world are those that are located on waterways and at some point in their history benefited from trade with other cities (ex. New York, Montreal, Toronto, etc).
The Port of Santos is no exception. Operating along the Tiete-Parana waterway, the Port de Santos is the largest container port in Latin America (and 41st largest in the world). It dwarfs other Latin American ports, the next four largest ports having a combined capacity of about 24% (versus Port de Santos’ 25%) of Brazil’s total exports. Port de Santos acts as a gateway to Latin America, acting as a free port with rail access to Bolivia and road access to Paraguay moving dry bulk, liquid bulk and break bulk goods. Much of the development of industry in Sao Paulo and Cubatao can be attributed to the presence of the port and Brazil’s first hydro electric dam.

We were fortunate to have a boat ride along the waterway as a logistics consultant from Deloitte highlighted the presence of different companies and products being moved through the port. There were cranes towering over massive cargo freighters moving quantities of containers holding anything from sugar to wind farm turbine blades.

There are currently several investment projects underway to improve the infrastructure and information technology systems of the port with the most notable and ambitious being the expansion and dredging of the canal itself: Moving from a 12-14m depth and 150m width allowing 1 way traffic to having a 15m depth and 220m width allowing 2 way traffic, potentially increasing the capacity of cargo movement by 30%.

With the resource race between hungry countries like China, Brazil’s highly coveted natural resources make it a target for investment by foreign countries. While the port is owned and operated by Companhia Docas do Estado de Sao Paulo (CODESP), a government agency, the terminal and services are owned and operated by different companies.

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