Brazil relies heavily on imported fertilizer, tendering up to 70% of the NPK consumed by farmers each year. Port strikes and infrastructure delays have been a real problem, threatening the timing of fertilizer applications, and in some cases, delaying planting.
But South American Pro Farmer contributor Dr. Michael Cordonnier notes today the Ports of Paranagua and Antonina have made notable improvements that will keep the fertilizer flowing to farmers in South America. Six dedicated fertilizer berths are now managed electronically at the ports, saving manpower and time, and labor disputes regarding privatization have been settled.
According to Dr. Cordonnier, "The Ports of Paranagua and neighboring Antonina imported 6.3 million tons of fertilizers during the month of August, which was 12% more than the 5.7 million tons imported in August of 2012. Last year at this time there were 53 vessels waiting to unload at the two ports and that has dropped to only 11 vessels this year. From January through August, 319 vessels docked at the two ports to unload fertilizers. During the same period last year, 269 vessels unloaded fertilizer at the two ports."
South America has designs on fertilizer independence by the year 2020. Infrastructure improvements on ailing South American highways will be a necessary part of improving the transit of goods through that country. But with labor disputes settled, dedicated fertilizer berths and an updated, modern electronic system in place, moving fertilizer into South America is now much easier than it was just a few months ago.