The grains sector is concerned about what lies ahead for logistics this season after the government introduced new laws restricting drivers to eight-hour days, sometimes longer in specific circumstances, when previously no limitation existed.
"It's mainly to do with the volume that will be harvested and because it's the first season in which the truckers' law will be in place from the outset," said Natalia Trombeta, a researcher at Esalq-Log.
The consequence will be a significant reduction in the country's haulage capacity, transporters and grains sector representatives say. Alternatives like new rail lines are still years off.
The jump in haulage rates and shortage of trucks which the grains sector has been dreading will be sharpest in top soy state Mato Grosso some 2,000 km (1,242 miles) from the country's two main grains ports in the south and in top corn state Parana.
Other states are expected to see increases of 20 to 40 percent, according to Esalq-Log, a research unit of the University of Sao Paulo.
Brazil is expected to harvest a soy crop of more than 80 million tonnes of soy which would see it leapfrog the United States to become the world's biggest producer of the oilseed.
Soy industry association Abiove last year estimated that the transport industry was short of about 50,000 truck drivers and warned of impending "logistics chaos" during the season's peak over the next few months. (Reuters)