By Esmee Verbeek, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Over the last three years, the percentage of ships arriving in Rio’s Guanabara Bay has increased by 146 percent, according to the Companhia Docas (Dock Company). The port authority believes this year’s maritime traffic will be even higher, drawing some concern form environmentalists.
The company Docas explains in a report by O Globo the important reasons of why there is an enormous increase of naval traffic in the bay. First of all, the port is in a very good condition due to dredging which gained three meters of depth.
The superintendent Adácio Carvalho of the port sees the same advantages: “It’s close to both Santos Dumont and Galeão, so there can easily be a change of crew. There is an abundance of labor and workers and if a ship has any problems, it can by fixed by plenty of dockyards.”
Statistics by Docas show in 2009, 1,568 ships entered in Guanabara Bay, in 2010 it were 2,374 vessels. This is a growth of more than 51 percent in one year.
In 2011, 3,861 ships entered, an annual growth of 63 percent. Most of 2012’s growth will, according to Carvalho, be attributed by the growing shipment of containers.
The State Secretary of Environment, Carlos Minc, reportedly admits that the vessel traffic is raising concerns. He thinks the solution would be to create a governing body of the Guanabara Bay.
Ports in Brazil are expecting to handle a billion tons of cargo for the first time in 2012, according to estimates by ANTAQ, Brazil’s National Agency for Waterway Transportation. If achieved, the figure will be 12.3 percent more than in 2011, with Rio de Janeiro State set to take the top spot from neighboring Espírito Santo.
New terminals have been announced in recent months, including by Eike Batista’s investment groups at ports such as Açu Superport in the north of Rio State.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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