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Brazil infrastructure

The focus of this page is transportation infrastructure as it relates to agriculture. The main question is just how bad the bottleneck is, and whether the situation is improving.

Summary

15 Dec 2012.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 ranks Brazil's ports 135th out of 144 countries (shippers often fill out over a hundred forms for 20 different institutions); the roads are ranked 123rd. Roads carry 2/3 of all cargo, compared to 1/4 in the US (trains are more energy-efficient). India, much smaller physically, and infamous for poor infrastructure, has 7 times more paved roads than Brazil. For many years the government has been announcing initiatives, but change has been very slow. Transportation costs have been a significant drag on Brazil's competitiveness for a long time.

Highlights

Total roads and percent paved (combining several sources, apparently not all compatible:

Year 1995 1997 1999 2002 2010a 2010b 2011a 2011b
Total, million km 1.66 1.66 1.72 2.0 <2 1.5 1.7 1.6
Percent paved 8.9 9.1 9.5 9.0 10+ 13 11 13
  • Railtrack has gone down (but tonnage up). “The total extension of railway track was 30,875 km … in 2002, as compared with 31,848 km … in 1970.” See 27 Dec 2011 entry for tonnage.

Sources

See also

Clippings below were used in the construction of this page

Cost of soybean transport double that of Argentina or US

2000. Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Manufacturers, via Brazil Travel.

http://www.v-brazil.com/business/transportation.html

“Transportation in Brazil”

“In Brazil, the defficiencies in the infrastructure of transportation (from the farms to the ports) and the high costs of portuary services (in Brazil, cost is US$ 7 per ton, while in Argentina it is US$ 3 per ton) represent a heavy burden to the farmers, who end up paying the costs by means of a reduction of the money effectively received by them. It is estimated that 67% of the Brazilian soy is transported by trucks, 28% by trains and only 5% by ships and similars. The average distance that the grains must travel until the nearest port is about 1,000 km, increasing transportation costs. In the USA, 61% of the soy is transported by vessels, allowing for a reduction in costs. In Argentina, 82% of the soy production is transported by trucks, but the distances until the ports are shorter. In average, the cost of transportation is US$ 28 per ton in Brazil, US$ 14 per ton in Argentina and US$ 15 per ton in the USA. These differences in the costs of transportation and embarkment have a negative impact on the price effectively seen by producers. A producer in Parana, even being closer to the port, received (in 1999) an average of US$ 9.03 less than the Argentinan producer per ton of soy; this difference increases to US$ 33.82 per ton, for the producers of Mato Grosso. In 1999, in average, the soy producers in Argentina were paid US$ 179.50 per ton, while the producer from Parana got US$ 170.47 and the ones from Mato Grosso got only US$ 145.68 per ton.”

Highway lobby keeps railroads down; percent paved

Undated; probably 2001 or 2002. Brazil Travel.

http://www.v-brazil.com/business/brazilian-roads.html

“Brazilian roads”

“Few Brazilian companies domain the technology to design and build railroads, whereas a few very big companies have years of experience in the civil construction field (buildings, dams and plants, bridges, roads, etc). It is not a secret that some of these companies (such as OAS, Odebrecht and others) are the largest contributors of the Brazilian election campaigns, both for Presidency and the Parliament; their lobby power is, not surprisingly, very strong (lobby is not normatized in Brazil, but it is not illegal either).

Besides satisfying the campaign funders, the building and maintenance of roads is a means for governments to inject cash in the Economy and generate, even if temporary, an increase in employment levels (not surprisingly, expenses grow in electoral years). Highways have the advantage over railways that the maintenaince funds can be more evenly distributed (Brazilian roads reach almost every city, whereas railways have always been concentrated), allowing more people to see the government working.

Most of the Brazilian roads (which include every street, avenue, highway, etc registered by the official transportation bodies) are under jurisdiction of the municipalities, and the vast majority of them are not paved. The table below depicts the situation in 1999.”

Brazilian roads

Year 1995 1997 1999
Total, million km 1.66 1.66 1.72
Percent paved 8.9 9.1 9.5

Time series share of paved roads at municipal, regional, federal level

Sep 2003. ASSOCIAÇÃO BRASILEIRA DOS DEPARTAMENTOS ESTADUAIS DE ESTRADAS DE RODAGEM

http://www.coweb.com.br/arq/arq3342.ppt

“Transportes – Rodovias”

Overview from IPEA

2010. Instituto de Pesquisa Economica Aplicada

http://www.ipea.gov.br/portal/images/stories/PDFs/livros/livros/Livro_InfraestruturaSocial_vol1.pdf

[Few railroads in Latin America p83, km/km**2: Western Europe 48, US 20, Latin America & Caribbean 6.]

[Roads carry 3/4 of all cargo:]

“O setor rodoviário brasileiro é especialmente importante pela grande participação que detém no transporte de cargas. Ao longo das décadas de 1990 e 2000, o modal rodoviário respondeu por mais de 60% do total transportado no país. Excluindo-se o transporte do minério de ferro que ocorre por ferrovia, as rodovias respondem por mais de 70% das cargas gerais. …

Nos Estados Unidos, a participação das rodovias no transporte de carga é de 26%, na Austrália é de 24% e na China é de apenas 8%”

Overview from Global competitiveness report

2010. World Economic Forum

http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-competitiveness-report-2010-2011-0

“The global competitiveness report 2010-2011”

“Box 4: The infrastructure challenge in Latin America: The case of Brazil …

The Global Competitiveness Index highlights the key importance of well-developed and efficient infrastructure networks for countries’ long-term growth, placing infrastructure among the basic requirements of competitiveness. The quality of infra- structure appears to be a shared concern for Latin America and the Caribbean, with few exceptions. Public investment in infrastructure was the main victim of the stabilization programs implemented in the 1990s in most countries, because cutting this type of investment spending proved easier than cutting current expenditures to cover salaries and pensions, among others: according to the World Bank, public investment in infra- structure in the region fell from 3 percent of GDP in 1988 to 1 percent of GDP in 1998. The adjustment was particularly dra- matic because Brazil had increased its current expenditures, and therefore needed to make even deeper cuts in long-term investment. The idea that the private sector could step in and fill the financing gap did not fully materialize. …

rankings and scores of regional economies in the GCI infrastructure pillar this year, together with those of selected relevant comparators, including the regional and BRIC averages, Korea, China, and India. The rather large gap between the regional average (3.75) and top-ranked Hong Kong (6.77) or Korea (5.59, ranked 18th) confirms the magnitude of the challenge facing Latin America and the Caribbean in upgrading regional infrastructure to international best standards.

[Brazil is ranked 62 out of 139]

This challenge is particularly relevant for large emerging markets such as Brazil, which are increasingly playing a key role in the global economy and for which poor infrastructure quality results in higher logistics costs and inefficient patterns of interregional and international trade.5 Table 2 provides an overview of Brazil’s infrastructure as assessed within the GCI infrastructure pillar. Although the country has improved eight places since 2008 for the overall quality of its infrastructure, it still ranks a middling 62nd in this pillar, with a similar showing for its transport (67th) and electricity and telephony infrastruc- ture (65th). The most problematic areas, as highlighted by the GCI, are the quality of port infrastructure (123rd), roads (105th), air transport infrastructure (93rd), and, to a lesser extent, rail- road infrastructure (87th) and mobile telephony (76th). This assessment reflects the appalling state of transport infrastruc- ture in the country, its underdeveloped railroads, the unexploit- ed potential of its 48,000 kilometers of navigable waterways, its congested ports and airports, and its costly and underdevel- oped telephone infrastructure. …

Upgrading infrastructure has been a key element of the Lula administration’s ambitious Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), launched in 2007, earmarking a total of R$504 billion in investment for the 2007–10 period …

Yet, three years after the launch of PAC, fewer than half of its targets have been met, with much of the financing going to housing (notably to first-time home own- ers) rather than to the improvement of physical infrastructure. …

Greater private investment in infrastructure should also be promoted in Brazil, notably through friendlier and more pre- dictable regulations, risk-mitigation mechanisms, and protected returns on investment. The Infrastructure Private Investment Attractiveness Index (IPIAI), developed by the World Economic Forum in 2007 and benchmarking 12 Latin American economies for their friendliness to private investment in infrastructure, ranked Brazil 2nd in the sample. Among Brazil’s notable com- petitive advantages underscored by the IPIAI in this regard were: a very low political risk, with little unrest or expropriation risk; a fairly well developed local capital market; a fairly good track record in private investment in infrastructure, with few projects cancelled or in distress; and a relatively high level of private investment in infrastructure projects over the 1994–2005 period (2.2 percent of GDP).”

Compares poorly with Mexico and Chile

Mar 2010. World Bank.

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTTRANSPORT/Resources/336291-1227561426235/5611053-1229359963828/TP-30_PPP_Roads_Brazil.pdf

“Private Participation in the Road Sector in Brazil: Recent Evolution and Next Steps Adrien Véron and Jacques Cellier”

“Brazil will have to further tap into private capital to address its infrastructure needs. The need for Brazil to increase its investments to improve its economic and social performance is well documented. The Brazilian infrastructure stock remains low compared to comparable countries such as Mexico and Chile, especially in the transport sector. [footnote: World Economic Forum 2007. Brazil ranked behind Chile and Mexico in terms of infrastructure and second to last in the road sector.] Close to two decades of below necessary levels of investment led to precarious road surface conditions and congestion, while over-reliance of the economy on the road mode exacerbated negative impacts.”

Govt is doing infrastructure projects

2 Oct 2010. Economist p29.

http://www.economist.com/node/17147828?story_id=17147828

“Lula's legacy”

“Marcelo Neri of the Fundação Getulio Vargas, a university. …

“Wherever you go in Brazil you will see work financed by the federal government,” he says, highlighting railways, power stations and basic sanitation. After 25 years in which the country failed to maintain its infrastructure, let alone build any more, it is “reacquiring the capacity to carry out the grand infrastructure works that Brazil needs.””

Railtrack in decline

Undated, probably 2010. Nations Encyclopedia

http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Americas/Brazil-TRANSPORTATION.html

“Brazil - Transportation”

“Brazil's road system totaled 1.98 million km (1.23 million mi) in 2002. The total of paved roads increased from 35,496 km (22,056 mi) in 1967 to 184,140 km (114,425 mi) in 2002. …

Brazil's railway system has been declining since 1945, when emphasis shifted to highway construction. The total extension of railway track was 30,875 km (19,186 mi) in 2002, as compared with 31,848 km (19,789 mi) in 1970. Most of the railway system belongs to the Federal Railroad Corp., with a majority government interest; there are also seven lines which the government privatized in 1997.

Coastal shipping links widely separated parts of the country. Of the 36 deep-water ports, Santos and Rio de Janeiro are the most important, followed by Paranaguá, Recife, Vitória, Tubarao, Maceió, and Ilhéus. Bolivia and Paraguay have been given free ports at Santos. There are 50,000 km (31,070 mi) of navigable inland waterways. In 2002, the merchant shipping fleet, which included 165 vessels (1,000 GRT or over), had a total GRT of 3,662,570.

Air transportation is highly developed. In 2001, local and international airlines transported 34,285,600 passengers. In 2001 there were an estimated 3,365 airports, of which 665 had paved runways. Of the 48 principal airports, 21 are international; of these, Rio de Janeiro's Galeao international airport and Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport are by far the most active.”

Percent paved may come from CNT

15 Feb 2011. Infosurhoy.

http://infosurhoy.com/cocoon/saii/xhtml/en_GB/features/saii/features/main/2011/02/15/feature-02

“Brazilian highways taking opposite direction than economic growth”

“The survey “Brazil’s Economic Infrastructure: Diagnosis and Prospects for 2025,” conducted by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA), reports investment of R$183.5 billion (US$110 billion) is needed to improve roads and highways nationwide. …

The Study of the National Transport Federation (CNT) …

For more than 15 years, CNT has performed surveys to assess the condition of road surfaces, layout and signage on the country’s most important transportation corridors.

Brazil has 1,580,809 kilometers (982,269 miles) of highways, but of those, just 212,618 kilometers (132,115 miles) are paved. ”

More about how private sector participation works

Jul 2011. Brazzil

http://brazzil.com/component/content/article/234-july-2011/10499-in-dire-need-of-repairs-brazilian-roads-become-attractive-to-foreign-capital.html

“In Dire Need of Repairs Brazilian Roads Become Attractive to Foreign Capital”

“Luiz Afonso dos Santos Senna, a professor at the School of Engineering of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), who has already been a board member at the ANTT. …

Today, among the 54 groups that have concessions of Brazilian highways and are part of the Brazilian Association of Highway Concessionaires (ABCR), a significant share is foreign.

The organization's president, Moacyr Duarte, believes that at least 16 have foreign capital. Most is from Europe. This presence may be explained, according to him, by the fact that the Europeans have a tradition of highway concessions and have easy access to Brazil. …

Currently, among the foreign companies that operate in highways in Brazil, both federal and state, are the Spanish OHL, Acciona and Isolux, and the Italian Autostrate and Impregilo.

One of the factors that have been attracting investors to the highway sector in the country is the respect to contracts, according to specialists. “In general, contracts are respected, the changes made were negotiated,” said Dutra, from ABCR.

The same is stated by the Rio Grande do Sul State Attorney, Paulo Valério Dalpai Moraes. “There is legal safety in the country. The tendency, in the Judiciary, is to confirm contracts,” said the attorney. …

One of the current discussions in the highway sector in Brazil is the model for concession from now on. The government of the state of São Paulo, for example, guaranteed that investment in Tamoios and in the area surrounding Caraguatatuba and São Sebastião will be through PPPs [presumably public private partnerships]. …

Senna, from UFRGS, believes, however, that for the time being the conventional concession models should prevail and in three or four years, PPPs should be more used in the area. He, in fact, believes that investors prefer to operate on highways that are sustainable through tolls, if the alternative is depending on government funds, with the government making just an initial investment in partnership for preparation of the road, and not granting regular funds to the concession holder.

“The government has a fame of not honoring its payments,” said the professor. But, he recalls, the legislation forecasts a guarantee fund, which would reduce this lack of safety. …

A research by the National Confederation of Transport (CNT) shows that of the ten best highways in Brazil, all are in the hands of concession holders. Among the 10 worst highways, none are under concessions.

In the 2009 CNT research, 42.5% of those interviewed classified the highways under concession as “excellent”. In last year's research, the total was 54.7%. Among the highways under public operation, in turn, the “excellent” classification was only granted by 8% of interviewees in 2009 and 7.1% in 2010.

According to Senna, there are currently 1.7 million kilometers of highways in Brazil, of which just 11% are tarmacked. “There are many opportunities for investment, but governments must be open to using these funds,” said the UFRGS professor. He said that the governments have shown themselves shy in expansion of private participation in highways.”

Road maintenance is the number one logistics problem

17 Jul 2011. O Globo.

http://oglobo.globo.com/politica/brasil-ainda-tem-87-das-estradas-sem-pavimentacao-2714953

“Brasil ainda tem 87% das estradas sem pavimentação”

“Em 2010, do 1,5 milhão de quilômetros de estradas brasileiras, apenas 212 mil quilômetros, ou 13%, eram pavimentados, de acordo com o Dnit. Os outros 87% não têm qualquer tipo de pavimentação.

Uma pesquisa feita ano passado pelo instituto Ilos, com cerca de 15 mil profissionais de logística das maiores empresas do Brasil, revelou que 92% deles apontaram a má conservação das estradas como o principal problema de infraestrutura do país. A malha rodoviária insuficiente foi citada por 68% dos entrevistados. …

A Índia, por exemplo, cuja extensão territorial representa 35% da brasileira, tem 1,5 milhão de quilômetros de rodovias pavimentados. ”

Problems in access and efficiency at ports

2 Aug 2011. Infosurhoy.

http://infosurhoy.com/cocoon/saii/xhtml/en_GB/features/saii/features/main/2011/02/08/feature-03

“Brazil: Ports operating at their limit. Nelza Oliveira”

“Carlos Campos, the economic infrastructure coordinator at the Institute for Applied Economics Research (IPEA).

Campos, with Bolívar Pêgo, organized and released the study “Economic Infrastructure in Brazil: Diagnoses and Perspectives for 2025 .” IPEA is a branch of the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs of Brazil’s Presidency.

“The main bottlenecks can be found in the highway and rail access to the ports,” Campos says. “It’s as difficult for trucks and trains to reach the Brazilian ports as it is to leave them.” …

Another problem identified by IPEA’s study is the depth of the access channels, which are too shallow to receive large vessels. …

[Wilen Manteli, the presidential director of the Brazilian Association of Port Terminals (ABTP)] said it’s also problematic that those in the shipping industry often must fill out more than 100 documents asking for the same information. The forms, which are all in Portuguese, are sent to numerous government agencies.

“The number of documents, guides, and forms that have to be filled out can reach 112, for more than 20 different institutions,” he says. …

“Customs should be open 24 hours a day in order to facilitate the liberation of cargo,” [Campos] says. “We have also suggested some oversight of the right of public employees to go on strike. There are public institutions that sometimes go on strike for 20, 30, 40 days. How are you going to explain to the Chinese, for example, that their cargo can’t be delivered because the port went on strike?” ”

The US has 20 times more paved roads

15 Sep 2011. Instituto de Logistica e Supply Chain

http://www.ilos.com.br/web/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1807&Itemid=74&lang=br

“CENÁRIO DA INFRAESTRUTURA RODOVIÁRIA NO BRASIL”

“Apesar de ter uma das malhas rodoviárias mais extensas do mundo, o Brasil ainda está muito aquém das principais economias do globo, com apenas 13% das rodovias pavimentadas. Em contrapartida, os Estados Unidos, país com características territoriais semelhantes, são cortados por 4,37 milhões de km de rodovias pavimentadas, malha 20 vezes maior do que a brasileira (214 mil km). Já a Índia, mesmo tendo um terço do território brasileiro, possui uma malha rodoviária pavimentada sete vezes maior do que a do Brasil …

Asfalto de má qualidade, falhas de construção, falta de conservação e o excesso de peso dos caminhões são alguns dos fatores que afetam as condições das rodovias nacionais.”

Train cargo has grown

27 Dec 2011. CNT.

http://www.cnt.org.br/Imagens%20CNT/PDFs%20CNT/Economia%20em%20foco/ECONOMIA%20EM%20FOCO%2027_12_2011.pdf

“Transporte Ferroviário de Carga”

“Apesar da dimensão geográfica brasileira ser favorável ao transporte por ferrovias, apenas 20,7% da produção nacional é escoada pelo modal ferroviário.”

Highly inefficient workforce at the ports

6 Jun 2012. PortStrategy.

http://www.portstrategy.com/features101/manpower-and-training/labour/labor-differences-at-brazils-public-,-private-use-terminals-challenge-industrys-future

“Sign of the times”

“Wilen Manteli, president of the Brazilian Association of Port Terminals (ABTP), a non-profit representing more than 100 private terminals or those leased in public ports.

“I think a lean, well-trained pool of temporary workers, paid based on market demand, can be the solution for public ports. Conversely, many private terminals outside public ports are facing strong pressure, even legal suits, to hire unionised labor, despite the federal constitution and port law ensuring their freedom to hire independently,” says Mr Manteli.

“If we don't solve Brazil's (port) labour issue, all terminals – public or private – will suffer the ongoing effects of ports with modern equipment but a retrograde workforce.”

Unions could make headway with port management and revitalise their workforce by conceding to staff cuts, before the problem becomes so prominent government steps in. There's an estimated excess of 26,000 port labourers, according to ABTP, many of which are eligible to retire based on age or health issues.

“We have a labour excess at the ports, and worse, an aging workforce that's unprepared to operate with the newest methods of cargo storage and handling,” Mr Manteli says. “Some terminals can operate with their own staff, but end up having to also pay unionised staff (with limited work). It's a bottleneck that must be resolved by government, employers and workers, with retirement required of those eligible, or relocation assigned to other activities.”

Private terminals outside ports could eventually face skilled labour shortages because of Brazil's record-low unemployment nationwide, but the migration of redundant labourers at public ports to private terminals won't happen naturally, because the demand lies in new technical jobs, which few veteran workers are retraining for, Mr Manteli says. ”

90% of roads unpaved; little railtrack

2 Nov 2012. Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Highway_System

“Brazilian Highway System”

“The Brazilian Highway System (Portuguese: Sistema Nacional de Viação) is the highway system of Brazil, the fourth largest in the World. As of 2010, the system consists of almost 2 million kilometers of roads, of which approximately 200,000 km are paved. …

The major problem of highways as the national arterial system is that it is expensive to transport freight: trains are much cheaper, generate less pollution and create no traffic problems as trucks do. As of 2003, Brazil had only 24,000 km of railways, used mainly for mineral resources transportation (mines to seaport), while trucks were responsible for almost every other means of freight transportation. …

In the 1990s, many state governments decided to privatize public-controlled paved highways, in order to generate extra income to the state's budget (for social care mainly). These governments argued that private funding would make problematic highways much better, because of the investments received. In fact, many private-controlled paved highways are in very good condition (with many of them having critical problems before), but other people argue that private-controlled paved highways charge more at the toll stations and that these highways have more toll stations than public-controlled paved highways (in order to compensate for the investment done).”

Larger private sector role still a major direction

10 Aug 2012. Forbes.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2012/08/10/brazil-opens-roads-to-privatization/

“Brazil Opens Roads To Privatization”

“the Brazilian government plans to announce billions in state asset sells to private investors through long term concession deals that would give the winning bidder the right to operate roads, rails and ports, many once built by the government, for around 30 years.

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is set to announce the concession projects next Wednesday in Brasilia, the nation’s capital. The total amount is estimated to be around R$90 billion, or $45 billion over the next five years.

Some projects will be total greenfield, however. …

It will include work to be done on southeastern highways, including a plan to expand 5,700 kilometers of lanes. Many of Brazil’s highways are just one or two lanes in either direction.

Expected in the deal are another 8,000 kilometers of new railroad tracks to be built and run by the private sector. Brazil is one of the world’s largest commodity producers after the U.S., and is often cited as having poor logistics to transport soy, sugar and other farm products from the bread basket states to the ports and heavily populated south/southeastern states.

Also this month, the government is expected to finish off plans to build three new ports: one in Amazonas state, one in Espirito Santo and the other in Bahia. Total investments there are around R$5 billion, or $2.5 billion.

The concessions are awarded to the bidding firm that can do the work at the lowest cost to the end user. So whichever firm can build a road without charging an arm and a leg for Brazilians via tolls will win the contract.

All told, Brazil is hoping to award R$100 billion in new infrastructure projects in the weeks ahead.”

Economist pessimistic about private participation

11 Aug 2012. Economist.

http://www.economist.com/node/21560309

“The road forsaken”

“In theory, Brazil’s urgent infrastructure needs should provide rich pickings for investors. From 2011-14 the government will spend 163 billion reais ($80 billion), or 1% of GDP a year, on infrastructure as part of its “growth acceleration” programme. That is not enough, says Arthur Carvalho of Morgan Stanley. According to a 2010 report by the bank, Brazil would need to spend 6-8% of GDP annually to catch up with South Korea in 20 years and 4% per year to catch up with Chile.

But there are plenty of reasons to think that private capital will not rush to fill the gap. Infrastructure projects require lots of debt, but long-term financing in reais is extremely expensive. Loans are available from BNDES, Brazil’s giant national development bank, at a more affordable rate, but its activities have the effect of crowding out other lenders. The Brazilian government is trying to encourage projects to use tax-free infrastructure bonds, but so far there has not been a successful issuance. Exactly who will buy these bonds is unclear since Brazilian investors can get a comparable yield without taking on so much risk.

There is a lot of risk to go round. Getting hold of environmental licences to undertake big projects is a huge hassle. They have been known to delay a project’s start by as much as five years. One aggrieved investor recounts how his firm had to wait months to get approval to take over a port terminal, because it needed 21 separate entities to sign off. Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, has at least made it possible to fast-track approval for certain infrastructure projects. Yet it is not unheard of for a project to be halted when it is nearly finished, as happened earlier this year to a São Paulo mall because of a missing licence.”

More on govt initiatives

16 Aug 2012. Reuters.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/16/uk-brazil-economy-idUSLNE87F00F20120816

“Brazil unveils plan to boost road, railway investment”

“Brazil's government on Wednesday unveiled measures to lure up to $133 billion reais in private investment for road and rail projects, part of a new state-led effort to improve the country's aging and overburdened infrastructure. …

In addition to plans for major highways, the government hopes to attract investments for up to 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of Brazil's rail network.

Economists welcomed the measures, having long argued that Brazil must clear its clogged roads, ports, railways and airport terminals if it ever hopes to loosen the economy from structural shackles that have long held it back. So deficient is the country's existing infrastructure that many of its big mining, steel and other commodity companies operate their own private rail, road and port facilities. …

Compared with China, where the government has invested rapidly and heavily in infrastructure, the projects Brazil promised to pursue during a recent boom were slow to materialize. Due to bureaucracy, legal issues and costs that quickly get out of control, some of them never did.

As a result, goods still take at least twice as long to move the same distance as they do in China and other more efficient markets, logistics experts say.”

Ports are slow, expensive, and corrupt

13 Nov 2012. The Rio Times.

http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-business/brazil-ports-to-see-r40b-investment-plan/#

“Brazil Ports to See R$40B Investment Plan. Ben Tavener”

“President Dilma Rousseff is reported to have finalized the long-awaited “ports package,” the government’s next big investment program to upgrade the country’s overstretched infrastructure, improving ports and how they are managed to increase competitiveness. Details of the investment plan will be presented by the president on November 19th. …

A major management reshuffle is expected for companies running Brazil’s eighteen public ports, although President Rousseff has rejected a national port authority, akin to the now-defunct Portobrás. …

David Lorimer, President of maritime strategic data providers Datamar …

Mr. Lorimer also shared that “Real reforms mean facing down, and probably appeasing financially, the navy, pilotage, port labor and, above all, the political parties who control the port administration, all without appearing to cave in to industry lobbying.”

The biggest issue faced at the ports is the considerable bureaucratic lag between ships arriving and unloading, as officials do not work round the clock. The result is often a week’s wait for cargo to be unloaded.

“If we could operate at full capacity, 24 hours a day, we would increase our efficiency significantly,” Marcelo Araújo, president of Grupo Libra, which has terminals in Rio and Santos, São Paulo state, told O Globo newspaper.

“If the Receita [Inland Revenue] and Anvisa [the inspection authority] were working as ships arrived, we could increase productivity by 20-30 percent, without new terminals. Private terminals work 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The ports don’t,” Mr. Araújo concludes.

Not not only does it take longer in Brazil but, according to a study by development center Fundação Dom Cabral, it also costs more: exporting a container in Brazil costs US$1,790 – seventy percent more than in the U.S. (U$1,050) and three times the cost in Singapore (US$456). The cost of pilotage in Brazilian ports is also high, costing 2.4 times the international average.”