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April 1, 2016

Port of Paranagua in Brazil Inaugurates new "Super Berth"

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

Officials at the Port of Paranagua in southern Brazil reported that their first test of what they call their "Super Berth" was successful. A new loading system at berth number 213 in the Export Corridor succeeded in loading a 63,000 ton vessel in 33 hours. Under their old system, it would have taken 48 hours to load the same vessel. The loading time for the vessel was shortened by 15 hours or a saving of 31%.

The "Super Berth" has two brand new shiploaders that can each be supplied by two conveyor systems. The new shiploaders have a capacity of 2,000 tons per hour, which represents a 33% increase over the 1,500 tons per hour of the old shiploaders. The long term goal at the berth is to consistently load a 65,000 ton vessels in 36 hours.

The Port of Paranagua is Brazil's second largest port and the Export Corridor consist of the three public berths at the port. Each berth has two shiploaders and there have been four new shiploader installed in the Export Corridor at a total investment of R$ 59 million. This is all part of the program to expand the port's capacity and to improve the loading efficiency and thus reduce costs. Other improvements include the construction of new berths, new truck and rail dumping facilities, expanded storage and conveyor systems, dredging and expanding the channel leading to the port and improving the draft at the berths in order to accommodate larger vessels. In fact, the new shiploaders are designed to be able to load larger vessels.

Vessels wishing to use the Super Berth must meet certain technical capabilities. Vessels meeting the criteria move to the front of the line when they arrive at the port. This is similar to the Express Line that was instituted last year at the port. The Express Line was for vessels that would only load grain from a limited number of warehouses thus reducing loading times. Port officials feel the Express Line itself improved the port's efficiency by 10%. They are hoping for similar results from the Super Berth.

While not all vessels will be able to use the Super Berth, all the vessels at the port should benefit from faster operations and reduced wait times.

The port continues to invest heavily in improving its infrastructure in order to remain competitive with new ports in Brazil's "Northern Arc". These are rapidly expanding ports on the Amazon River and along the Atlantic Coast in northeastern Brazil that are attracting increasing volumes of soybeans and corn produced in central Brazil.