By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian government has announced its long-awaited investment program for the country’s ports, with a core focus on incentives for the private sector, totaling R$54.2 billion (US$26 billion) which will be implemented over the next five years – R$15 billion more than expected. The programs will include new investments, leases and private terminals, known as TUPs.
“We want to get as much cargo moving as possible, with the lowest cost possible,” said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, unveiling the new concession plans.
Minister Leônidas Cristino, from the Special Ports Secretary, also gave details of a new organizational structure for the ports, creating new port authorities and commissions that will see the government keep a firmer grip on the ports’ activities, but with the aim of reducing bureaucracy and increasing flexibility:
“With this new goal, we’re convinced that the ports sector will increase its ability to play its part in developing and growing the Brazilian economy in a sustainable manner,” Cristino told reporters.
It was also announced that an additional R$2.6 billion (US$1.25 billion) in improvements to waterways, roads, railways and traffic to help regulate traffic in Brazil’s eighteen main public ports, R$1 billion of which will come from the Ministry of Transport. Individual states and the private sector will pick up the remainder.
The main reasoning behind the new investment program is the dire need to improvement efficiency and reduce costs in Brazil’s port system – so crucial to the country’s economy – to improve international competitiveness.
Currently, ships can be forced to wait a week before their cargo is unloaded, due to the notorious bureaucratic lag caused by Brazil’s tax and inspection agencies – the Receita Federal and Anvisa.
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