Port of Itajaí plans to return to container operations in early 2024Nov, 17, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros
The superintendent of the Port of Itajaí, Fábio da Veiga, stated that containership operations at the port are expected to resume in early 2024. He took part in a virtual meeting of the Federation of Industries’ Transportation and Logistics Chamber (Fiesc) on Thursday, the 16th. The port has not seen container operations for almost a year, awaiting the National Waterway Transportation Agency (Antaq) to decide on the winning company for the temporary lease of the port (a two-year contract).
Following the disqualifications of the first and second-placed bidders on October 2nd and 20th, the Antaq bidding committee summoned the third-place bidder, Teconnave, with the third-highest proposal of 35,000 TEUs/month. Veiga explained that the companies in first, second, and fourth place filed administrative appeals. As a result, the committee is currently reviewing the appeals and will declare the process complete with the winner in the coming days.
“I spoke with Antaq’s director-general, Eduardo Nery, on the 14th, and he underscored the agency’s extreme priority. We hope that it will be possible to sign with the winner later this month to start the customs clearance process for the container terminal,” he said. He emphasized that this process is expected to be fast because the security system and other equipment are already installed (donated by APM Terminals, the former terminal operator). “We hope to start operating container ships in early 2024, i.e., in 45 days,” he predicts.
Another point of discussion was the completion of the second phase of the port’s turning basin, which will allow 400-meter-long ships to pass through. The superintendent informed the audience that the work shall be completed by the lessee who takes over the long-term, 35-year contract. He also stated that the dredge that will keep the depth of the access channel and the maneuvering basin constant will arrive today and work for at least 45 days to reach the contracted depth.
The chart below compares container exports and imports at the Port of Itajaí from January 2019 and December 2022, the period in which container operations began to dwindle at the port. The data is from DataLiner.
Container exports and imports | Port of Itajaí | Jan 2019 – Dec 2022 | TEU
Impacts on Imbituba
The situation in Itajaí has affected the operation of other ports, such as Imbituba, which has seen an unusually high number of containers. As a result, there has been a slowdown in service and cargo clearance.
At the Fiesc meeting, Marco Antônio, director of operational planning at Santos Brasil, which operates the Imbituba container terminal, explained that the document clearance process and an excess of containers putting pressure on the terminal’s structure are among the challenges causing delays. Despite this, he stressed that the terminal “has never failed to deliver a cargo” and that more than 40 Santos terminal employees are working in Imbituba to speed up operations.
During the meeting, it was decided that Fetrancesc and Santos Brasil would meet to find a solution to the transportation issue. Fiesc requested the preparation of a report on the situation and offered to mobilize the industry to resolve the dilemma.
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