By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – An investigation has found that some of Brazil’s port terminals are still not operating twenty-four hours a day, despite the introduction of the Porto 24 horas (24-Hour Port) program nearly a month ago, aimed at improving the ports’ efficiency.
According to the report by O Globo newspaper, the effect of the introduction of the program at ports in Rio, Santos (São Paulo state) and Paranaguá (Paraná state), has had virtually no effect.
Rio’s main port terminal was supposed to begin round-the-clock operations on April 19th. However, work after traditional business hours is said to be slow: reports say virtually no loading or unloading has been seen after hours, and that the two major port authorities needed for processing freight through the ports – the Federal Revenue Service (Receita Federal) and the main inspectorate (Anvisa) – have been closed as usual.
However, customs officials responded by saying that demand does not yet warrant twenty-four-hour operations; others also say that the Rio terminal does not have the right facilities for night inspections.
São Paulo’s main port at Santos, Brazil’s largest port complex, was reported to be working extended hours, but still struggling to cope, with trucks snaking out of the terminal. A lack of security overnight has been cited by companies and drivers who do not want to be queuing during the dark and instead prefer to arrive in the morning.
However, Rio and São Paulo are widely reported to suffer from congestion problems at certain times during the day, and both industry experts and central government officials say freight needs to be more evenly spread through the 24-hour cycle to allow the ports to reach maximum efficiency.
Brazil’s ports have been included in a sweeping package of public-private concession programs totaling R$242 billion (around US$121 billion), announced by the government for improvements to the country’s infrastructure, which also includes airports, roads and railways.
Although voting over the Port Reform Bill has stalled, the government has earmarked over R$54 billion for 159 port projects through Brazil. Improvements to infrastructure and reductions in other limiting factors, such as bureaucracy, are seen as crucial to stimulating the economy and shoring up the country’s ability to trade globally in the future.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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