fruit exports
Ports and Terminals

Brazil’s Rio Grande do Norte plans to boost fruit exports at the Port of Natal

Nov, 16, 2022 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202246

Strategies aimed at expanding fruit exports via the Port of Natal in 2023 – in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte –  were discussed in a virtual meeting held on Nov 10 between the State Secretariat for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (Sape RN) and players active in this market.

The conversation was conducted by secretary Guilherme Saldanha and revolved around the need to attract new shipping companies to operate in the Natal port complex.

The elaboration of a document that will gather information on exports in Rio Grande do Norte to serve as a starting point in the search for partnerships, laying out main bottlenecks and their possible solutions, was the focal point of the meeting attended by producers, exporters, and leaders of entities linked to fruit growing in the state.

The Rio Grande do Norte agribusiness yielded US$ 100 million in revenue up to September this year, according to data from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC), which represents 18% of the state’s total exports.

Melon alone, the second most exported product by the state, accounted for 63 thousand tonnes shipped to other countries in the first half of 2022.

See below the track record of the fruits exported from the Port of Natal in containers between Jan 2019 and Sep 2022, according to the DataLiner data service.

Fruits exports via Port of Natal | Jan 2019 – Sep 2022 | TEUs

Source: DataLiner (click here to request a demo)


The concern with exports via the Port of Natal, managed by the state port authority Codern, became more evident after the logistics company CMA CGM announced that it would no longer operate there in 2023.

Without the CMA CGM route, many fear that local producers will redirect exports to the ports of neighboring Ceará, especially fruits – a kind of good that has long been shipped there.

The state company also calculates a loss in revenue of R$ 5 million per year if it fails to attract new operators.

There is growing consensus over the need to invest in enhancing the structure of ports and their accesses, mainly the BR-304 road, which crosses Rio Grande do Norte from east to west, connecting the state’s two main cities – Natal and Mossoró. The road is used to transport melon and other fruits to the Port of Natal.

According to data from the Federal Highway Police, BR-304 is the federal highway with the highest number of deaths by accidents. With a single lane, there are also constant records of congestion close to the entrance of Natal, which impacts the traffic of trucks destined for the port complex.

Another problem is the lack of fenders on the Newton Navarro Bridge, impeding night port operations.

Source: Informativo dos Portos

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