South American crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier says Beto Richa, governor of Parana, last week authorized the start of the bidding process to expand and modernize the export corridor at the Port of Paranagua. The three-berth port will be expanded to seven and the centerpiece of the expansion will be a new "T-shaped" pier that will extend 400 meters into the ocean from the present pier.
- The new pier would provide four new berths for vessels too large to use the present berths. At the new pier, one of the berths will be able to handle "cape-size" vessels with the capacity of 110,000 MT of grain. The other three berths will be able to handle "post-Panamax" vessels, which have the capacity of 75,000 MT of grain.
- The new pier will have eight shiploaders including six with capacity of 2,000 MT per hour and two with the capacity of 3,000 MT per hour. When fully operational, the expanded export corridor will be able to load 16,000 MT of grain per hour.
"Port officials see this modernization as necessary to accommodate what is expected to be continued expansion of Brazil's grain production," says Dr. Cordonnier. "At the same time, the Brazilian government is in the process of privatizing all the grain terminals at the Brazilian ports. The government views privatization as a way to improve efficiency and reduce costs at the ports. The unions representing workers at the ports are opposed to the government's privatization plans and are threatening work stoppages until their concerns over job security are addressed."