As a lingering consequence of the covid-19 pandemic and a slowdown of the Chinese economy, cargo throughput in Brazilian ports fell by 3.3% in the first half of the year compared to the same period of 2021. On the other hand, the Port of Santos recorded an increase of 5.6% over the same period. The data are included in a report published by Brazil’s National Waterway Transportation Agency (Antaq).
At a press conference in Brasilia, the federal agency released details on agribusiness, oil, oil and gas, mining, and containers, as well as regional data. Specifically, the national port sector had a throughput of 581 million tons in the first half of this year.
“We believe this decrease is due to the problems in China, such as extended periods of lockdown and the closure of industries and ports. These disturbances affected the movement of solid, mineral, and vegetable bulk. In addition, the flow of containers was also hampered due to problems in the Asian country,” said Eduardo Nery, director general of Antaq.
He also recalled that last year, 1.2 billion tons were handled. The expectation, according to him, is that the second half will compensate for the losses and reach 631 million tons. “I hope that, by the end of the year, we will have a movement close to what we had in 2021,” he predicts.
According to the Antaq report, solid bulk dropped by 4.4%. Liquids, on the other hand, showed a decrease of 4.5%, while containers registered a retraction of 4.4%, with emphasis on iron ore, soybeans, and oil. In turn, the so-called general loose cargo grew significantly, around 18%, driven by pulp exports (up 27%).
Fertilizers also performed well (up 14.1%), a reflection of the war between Russia and Ukraine, which provoked an import race by countries to avoid having their crops harmed by the lack of agricultural inputs. With regard to container handling, cabotage navigation registered an increase of 10.8%. China, the most significant origin and destination of containers, reported a rise in exports and imports.
Fernando Serra highlighted the performance of the Port of Santos, which had a cargo throughput of 62 million tons in the first half of this year.
“The Port of Santos grew by 5.6%, primarily due to the movement of agricultural products such as soybeans. There was, despite a drop in sugar and container handling rates. However, the port increased quite substantially its cellulose pulp handling operations. As a result, it performed well, especially compared to the fall semester (in terms of Brazil),” said the Antaq representative.
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