Latin America Trade
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Brazil’s Copersucar doubles port capacity at Santos
Brazil’s largest sugar trading group, Copersucar, inaugurated an expansion at Santos port that will double its export capacity to 10 million tons a year.Copersucar started work on its ship loaders, terminal space and loading capability nearly two years ago and the expansion was being launched just as Brazil harvests a record center-south cane crop of 590 million tonnes that is due to produce upward of 35 million tons of sugar.Copersucar, which represents 47 mills in Brazil, recorded revenue in sugar and ethanol trading of $4.1 billion in 2012 and accounts for 17 percent of the world’s sea-born trade in sugar. The company expects to expand its trading volume of sugar to 9 million tons this season, up from 7.2 million last season.Brazil, the world’s largest sugar producer, is struggling to build out its infrastructure, especially in the transport sector, to keep up with the rapid growth of its grain, sugar and coffee exports.Congress last month approved a long-awaited port reform, the first step in opening terminals to private investment the government says is necessary for modernization. [D:nL2N0DX1XZ]Exporters have complained that port capacity is not the only problem, as limited expansion of road and railway capacity over the past decades has created a bottleneck at the ports.Copersucar hopes to outflank some of that bottleneck with an increase in use of railway to deliver sugar from the hinterland to its port terminal complex. The company expects to raise the use of rail delivery of sugar from 30 percent to 70 percent of all sugar arriving in Santos at its warehouses in Santos.Copersucar Chief Executive Luis Roberto Pogetti said in Santos that its TAC berth linked to its warehouses at the port would be able to load 60,000 tons of bulk sugar a day and handle bigger ships with an addition of a third shiploader. Previously, TAC could load 40,000 tons a day of raw sugar.Sugar futures prices have been trading at three-year lows, struggling under the weight of a global glut in the sweetener.“We see the global surplus at between 6 million and 8 million tons of sugar next crop,” said Pogetti, adding that at current prices producers around the world would scale down production so that they were no longer expanding the surplus. “But sugar stocks will remain high.” (Reuters)
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