Paraguay-Paraná waterway

Downspout threatens Paraguay’s foreign trade yet again

Jul, 26, 2022 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202230

Paraguayan exporters have decried over this weekend their latent concern about the Paraguay and Parana rivers’ downspout, which might affect the grain season in January and February if no improvement is recorded.

In addition to sales abroad, vessels carrying imported products, such as electronics, household appliances, and industrial equipment, are carrying cargoes 20% below their capacity, due to the low water level of the river, according to Guillermo Ehrecke, from the Center of River and Maritime Shipowners of Paraguay (Cafym).

“If these rains do not appear as they did in 2020 and part of 2021, we are going to have an extreme low again,” Ehrecke warned.

As soybean production for the 2021-2022 campaign plummeted by almost 70%, there is no river transport pressure, but if the effects remain, they could hinder the sector’s recovery harvest. “What worries us is the trend, because we did not finish recovering and a downward trend begins again and we have to see how this continues when the time comes for the new harvest in January, February,” Hugo Pastore of the Paraguayan Chamber of Exporters and Traders of Grains and Oilseeds pointed out.

The situation of the Paraná River is more serious and although there are no massive agricultural cargoes to be exported, Pastore insisted that a navigation window is being planned between the end of August and September to take out all the grains.

Although dredging is being carried out at different points of the Paraguay River, it is not expected to bring forth a solution in time, while the Jan De Nul company has submitted a feasibility study to implement a plan for the maintenance of the Paraguay-Paraná waterway, from Asunción to the Apa river, which envisions a public-private alliance to solve the low water level problem through an investment of US$ 110.2 million.

The lowering of the rivers is beginning to have an impact on the transportation of goods and the Paraguay River shows daily reports accounting for a drop in its water level, while the situation of the Paraná River is even more serious.

Source: MercoPress

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