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February 16, 2018

Port of Concepcion in Central Paraguay to Increase Soybean Exports

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

Soybeans produced in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, will have a new way of reaching export facilities once the expansion project at the Port of Concepcion in central Paraguay is inaugurated on February 20th.

The Port of Concepcion is located on the Paraguay River in central Paraguay. The soybeans would be transported by truck from the border city of Ponta Pora in Mato Grosso do Sul the 220 kilometers to the port. From there, the soybeans would be barged down the Paraguay Riven and then the Parana River to export facilities in Argentina. The distance by car between Concepcion and the ports in Argentina is 900 miles, but I am sure it is much longer if you follow all the meanders of the rivers.

The port expansion started in June 2017 and the total project is expected to cost 11 million dollars when it is completed. The storage capacity at the port will be doubled and the infrastructure will be improved. The goal of the project is to be able to export one million tons of soybeans per year.

This project has not been without controversy. Originally, the Paraguayan government agreed to allow dual trailer trucks from Brazil to transport grain to the port. This set off a nationwide strike by truck drivers in Paraguay who feared they would be at a competitive disadvantage to the bigger trucks from Brazil. The Paraguayan government decided to suspend the entre of big Brazilian trucks into Paraguay, at least for the time being.

Only standard size trucks will be allowed to transport the soybeans from Brazil to the port and it will be equally divided between Brazilian trucks and Paraguayan trucks. In order to achieve one million tons of exports from the port, it would require about 33,000 truckloads of soybeans or possibly corn.

This port expansion is part of the Paraguayan government's efforts to expand export opportunities from the land-locked country. Paraguay is the third largest soybean producer in South America after Brazil and Argentina and its grain production capacity has been expanding rapidly in recent years.