Brazilian port congestion

Brazilian ports experiencing substantial delays

There are very serious problems at the moment affecting all carriers operating on the South America East Coast to North Europe trade.

Decades of under investment in Brazilian port and surrounding infrastructure have really been evident throughout this year and particularly in the last two months. All carriers are experiencing huge delays trying to berth at many major Brazilian ports, particularly Santos. The port of Santos alone handles around 43% of all trade in and out of Brazil and is struggling to cope with increasing volumes and new larger vessels deployed by shipping companies.

Low productivity contributes to the existing situation (example, Rotterdam handles ten times as many container moves per hour as Santos with the same number of staff!). Vessels arrive on time for pre-booked berthing windows only to be confronted by delays ranging between 12 hours and two full days. Other ports have similar problems, namely Rio de Janeiro, Sepetiba and Paranagua. Very bad weather experienced since mid August in southern ports and also affecting the River Plate area has further exacerbated the already very difficult situation. Shipping lines are forced on a daily basis to modify vessel schedules and omit ports in order to maintain later berthing windows.

We are still recovering from the knock on effects of a much larger than usual frequency of port omissions where cargo roll over to subsequent vessels has produced a full vessel scenario for two weeks ahead.

Despite two new private berths opening recently in Santos there is still dredging work in the short term but we hope the outlook will improve soon. Todays schedule report mentions that vessels are still suffering from substantial delays on arrival and departure from Santos. Ports in mid to south Brazil (Santos, Paranagua  and Itapoa) are now affected by dense fog with port closures once again causing serious vessel delay. All the present delays are completely outside the control of the carriers.

If you are a customer of Neptune’s and you think that any of your consignments may be affected then please contact your account handler who will be more than happy to assist.