Brazil's government, which has already begun the process of handing over airports to private investment, is now preparing 45 ports to be licensed to operators, Estado de S Paulo newspaper reported Friday.
Brazil plans to auction first the rights to build and operate a new port terminal in the Amazon city of Manaus, Estado said, citing Tiago Lima, director of Brazilian water transportation agency Antaq.
Antaq had hoped to auction the rights for the city's port in May but is still awaiting authorization from the country's Minister of Ports, Estado said.
Most of the ports are located in Brazil's industrial and agricultural powerhouse in the south and southeast regions, with only seven of the 45 ports located in the north or northeast, Estado said.
Brazil handed many port services over to private operators in the 1990s, but the ports themselves are administrated by a government body. The licenses that the government plans to grant will allow operators full control of the port, under Antaq's supervision, Estado said.
Brazil is seeking to build up its transportation infrastructure to cut down the cost of production and increase its competitiveness with global rivals. Crowded ports often lead to delays in shipping, especially during the country's important harvests, when trucks and ships are backed up at ports such as Santos, which handles more than a fourth of Brazil's international shipping traffic