Brazil needs to invest in infrastructure to take advantage of waterway potential, says SNA director

Waterways are a promising alternative for the logistics sector in Brazil. However, it is necessary to invest in infrastructure. This is what Marcio Sette Fortes, director of the National Agricultural Society (SNA), says.

Based on data from the National Waterway Transport Agency (Antaq) and other sources, the SNA director said that the participation of waterways in the cargo transport matrix (agribusiness, ore, etc.) is around 4%. In relation to road transport, this percentage is 58%.

 

 

“The Ministry of Transport wants to increase the share of the waterway sector to 29%, within 15 to 20 years, which currently represents 13% of the entire logistics sector, but for this it will be necessary to invest R$ 15.8 billion”, said Fortes during a presentation at the SNA Economic Council, on Friday (25/8).

On the occasion, he spoke about investments in logistics as a competitive tool for agribusiness, showing the current situation of the road and rail networks and the advantages of the waterway system in relation to other modes.

“To give you an idea, we were able to place the load of 60 trucks in 16 railway wagons, and the load of these 16 wagons can be carried on a single barge”, he stated, adding that “currently, around 45 million tons of cargo/year, while the identified potential is at least four times greater”.

In comparison to the road system, Fortes highlighted that the waterway system is cleaner, with six times lower CO2 emissions, as well as being cheaper, safer and with a level of fuel consumption 19 times lower”. Furthermore, noted the director of SNA, “on waterways for the flow of agricultural bulk and minerals over long distances, the cost of freight is half the value of the rail mode and a quarter of that of the road”.

 

 

IMPROVES

However, Fortes drew attention to some obstacles that still affect waterway transport. “It is necessary to relieve the ICMS tax burden on river navigation fuels. There is a fight in this regard to reduce this burden.”

Another risk highlighted by the director is the construction of dams to expand the potential of the hydroelectric sector. “Dams cause rivers to become silted up, making them unfit for navigation. If on the one hand there are expenses to improve the hydroelectric system, on the other there are additional costs for works to make the rivers navigable”, he observed, citing as an example the Madeira River waterway, in Rondônia.

 

Fortes also highlighted that several regulatory obstacles involving environmental licensing often prevent the opening of waterways.

Present at the Economic Council meeting, the former Minister of Cities, Márcio Fortes said that the influence of climatic phenomena also reduces navigability in rivers, with the appearance of sandbanks, which add to silting and other problems. The former minister also mentioned that there is often a need to build locks to make waterways navigable, and this increases the cost of implementing waterways.

PROJECTS AND SERVICES

When talking about projects relevant to the development of the hydroport sector, the director of SNA cited important axes such as Arco Norte; the Teles Pires-Tapajós, Tocantins-Araguaia and Paraná-Tietê waterways – which is considered the most developed and one of the most important in the country, with 1,653 km of waterways; the Miritituba-Barcarena port complex, in Pará, which according to Fortes “reduces the time of a long-distance sea journey to Europe by 20%, saving freight”, and the Maranhão Grain Terminal (Tegram).

 

 

In general terms, Fortes stated that, in terms of logistics in Brazil, “what is currently being done is the maintenance of services that already exist, and not the expansion of the service offering”. He also drew attention to the indicators that measure the level of reliability of a given mode. “Factors such as losses, speed and price are important. There’s no point in having the best price, for example, with a lot of losses.”

The director of SNA, Paulo Protásio, who participated in the Council meeting, said that the logistics sector in the country has “extraordinary potential”; however, he stressed that, “without a response from the business sector, there will be no progress”. On that occasion, the director proposed the coordination of a national logistics plan with an emphasis on the agricultural area.

DEBATES

The meeting participants also discussed, among other topics, the need for greater investment in coastal shipping; the completion phase of BR-163, an important route for transporting soybeans and corn; maintaining the quality of logistics services, and issues relating to storage, which is the sector activity with the highest level of loss, according to a recent study by the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (Esalq).

 

 

The Economic Council meeting was coordinated by Rubem Novaes and was also attended by Antonio Alvarenga, president of the National Agricultural Society; the vice-presidents of the institution, Hélio Sirimarco and Tito Ryff; SNA directors Francisco Villela, Paulo Protásio, Rony Oliveira and Tulio Arvelo Duran; economists Arnim Lore, Ana Novaes, Antonio Meirelles, Carlos Von Doellinger, Helio Portocarrero, Ney Brito, Paulo de Tarso Medeiros, Paulo Guedes, Roberto Fendt and Sérgio Gabizo, and administrator Rui Otávio Andrade.

Source: Agrolink

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