December 7, 2015

Port of Paranagua Increases Grain Exports despite Excess Rainfall

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

The Port of Paranagua in southern Brazil is on track to set a new record for grain shipments in spite of the fact that the port continues to receive excessive rainfall. Port officials attribute the success of this year's shipping season to the R$ 510 million in investments they have made in new and faster equipment to load vessels.

The port must suspend loading operations of bulk commodities any time there is a chance of rainfall and 2015 has been a rainy year. From January through the end of November, the port could not load grain during 98 days, which is 47% more than the 67 days that they could not load during the same period in 2014. Since they cannot control the weather, they decided instead to invest in faster equipment in order to increase loadings when it was not raining.

In October, the port inaugurated the third new shiploader in the Export Corridor with the fourth new shiploader scheduled to be operational by the end of December. Each new loader has 33% more capacity than the one that was replaced. The Export Corridor at the port consists of three berths with each having two ship loaders. The investment in new shiploaders totaled R$ 59.4 million.

During the months of October and November, the port loaded nearly 10% more grain than during the same two months of last year in spite of the fact that half of the days during those two months (30 days) loadings were suspended due to wet weather. In 2014 there were only 10 days in October and November when loading was suspended.

From January through November of this year, the port has exported 14.9 million tons or 8% more than during the same period last year. This has included 7.4 million tons of soybeans or 15% more than last year and 2.8 million tons of corn or 6.7% more than last year. Port officials feel they could set a new record of 16 million tons by the end of the year if the weather cooperates. The port has on hand enough grain to load 18 vessels in the line-up during December and they expect to receive enough grain to load the other 22 grain vessels that are waiting in the bay.

Meteorologist had predicted that the strong El Nino would result in heavier than normal rainfall in southern Brazil and their prediction has been correct. The rainfall thus far for the eleven months of 2015 has been 74% more than in 2014. In addition to having more days of rainfall this year, the rain has been more intense as well. In addition to impacting the loading operations in southern Brazil, the heavy rainfall negatively impacted the winter wheat crop which ended up being very disappointing.