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Concerns have again been expressed that Brazilian coffee shippers have become too dependent on Port of Santos

A growing dependence on Port of Santos is driving up freight rates and port costs, leaving exporters exposed to sudden strikes or emergencies, coffee industry sources say.

As Rob Ward reports, the share of Brazilian coffee being exported from Port of Santos has increased from around 80 per cent to in excess of 83 per cent over the last five years.

A coffee industry consultant who works closely with Cecafé, the Council of Exporters for Brazilian coffee, said that coffee exporters in Minas Gerais – the landlocked state to the west of the states of both Espirito Santo and Rio de Janeiro – have been experiencing problems at the port of Vitoria because of restrictions on the size of vessels that can call there.

Other ports can’t compete with Santos

Because Vitoria has a restricted turning circle and limited water depth only vessels of up to 5,000 teu can call there. However, the size of vessels calling at ports in Brazil now averages around 7,000 teu and is expected to grow, with ships of up to 10,200 teu becoming more common.

“With fewer services and much larger ships, making calls in fewer ports, I guess it has been inevitable that there would be a concentration on Santos,” the consultant told C&CI, “because that is where most of the major joint services focus their efforts. The coffee infrastructure there – with storage and rail services into the port – is not perfect but it is better than Rio de Janeiro and Vitoria and that’s why shippers use it.”■ C&CI Read more

This article first appeared in the January ’18 issue of C&CI, click on subscribe now if you wish to read the full story and other informative articles in the January and future issues of C&CI or log in here if you are already a subscriber. 

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