New DataLiner data: Despite logistical hurdles, Brazilian container trade recovers pre-Covid levels

Aug, 31, 2021 Posted by Ruth Hollard

Week 202135

Data from July recently released by DataLiner indicate that container trade in the first seven months of 2021 reached a level similar to that of July 2019 before countries’ health, economies, and routines were upended by the coronavirus.

In the first seven months of the year, exports reached 1,658095 TEU, a growth of 6.1% over the same period in 2020 and 9.8% over the first seven months of 2019. See the chart below:

Year to Date Brazilian Exports | Jan to July 2019-2021 | TEU

Source: DataLiner (To request a DataLiner demo click here)


Imports, on the other hand, which suffered a greater impact from the pandemic last year, grew 29% over the same period in 2020, with 1,578,376 TEU. Compared to 2019, the growth was lower: 15.86%.

Year to Date Brazilian Imports | Jan to July 2019-2021 | TEU

Source: DataLiner (To request a DataLiner demo click here)



When analyzing only the month of July, last month 241,443 TEU were exported, a decrease of 1% compared to the same month in 2020. Compared to 2019, there was an increase of 11% in TEU.

Brazilian Exports by Month | Jan to July 2019-2021 | TEU

Source: DataLiner (To request a DataLiner demo click here)


In imports, July 2021 recorded a volume 41% greater than the same month in 2020. Compared to July 2019, there was a 2% drop in volume.

Brazilian Imports by Month | Jan to July 2019-2021 | TEU

Source: DataLiner (To request a DataLiner demo click here)

“Container Blackout”

The potential for growth in cargo handling is still being hampered by a persistent shortage in container availability and high freight rates.

Coffee is one of the commodities that felt these effects in July. According to CECAFÉ (the council of coffee exporters in Brazil), the July result was impacted by the continued logistical obstacles in world maritime transport. “Brazilian coffee is still struggling to find space on ships and to be shipped at the right time. The delays that have occurred generate unprecedented operational wear for exporters and a financial burden exacerbated by the lack of cash flow planning for this unimaginable scenario. It is worth remembering that this is occurring at the same time as prices reach the highest levels recorded in recent years and the harvest of the Brazilian crop is around 80%”, analyzes the organization’s president, Nicolas Rueda.

According to an article published this week by the newspaper Valor Econômico, Brazilian agribusiness exporters demand greater participation from the federal government in the debate on solutions for the “blackout” of containers that the sector is facing. According to the newspaper, there is dissatisfaction with the lack of dialogue — and initiative — by the federal government in discussions on a problem that is decreasing Brazil’s export competitiveness, something that plays a significant role in the country’s balance of trade.

Until now, the conversations have been on the subject of the Instituto Pensar Agro (IPA) logistical crisis.

According to the CEO of Datamar, Andrew Lorimer, the upcoming Christmas shopping season could further complicate the container shortage. “The containers will continue to be directed to meet the needs of the American market and its Christmas orders; this will affect container availability in Brazil”, he explains

According to Centronave – the national center for transatlantic navigation – bottlenecks continue at virtually all levels of the logistics chain, caused by external factors completely beyond the control of shipowners who continue working to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and the current global congestion so that Brazilian and world trade do not grind to a halt. Events such as the blocking of the Suez canal and temporarily closed Chinese ports did not help this situation at all.

For the second half of 2021, the center does not yet predict a significant improvement in the global situation.

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