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Brazil promises to ease soy truck chaos at Santos port
Authorities in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state on Wednesday said better enforcement would ease the chaotic truck lines seen outside Santos port last year when another record soybean harvest arrives in the coming months.
The port, the largest in Latin America, started assigning private terminals specific unloading schedules in April, when trucks hauling soy stood in lines as long as 50 kilometers (31 miles). The highway traffic delayed shiploading and upset locals and beach visitors.
But the scheduling had little impact because the port authority had no way to track and punish trucks that disobeyed, said Osvaldo Freitas, superintendent of logistics at the port.
The problem should be resolved this year because all the terminals have been required to send their loading schedules to the port’s computers, allowing for better organization, he said. The port will also have access to software that identifies truck license plates.
“This year is going to be different because we are totally prepared to impose fines,” Freitas said at a press conference.
Brazil relies on trucks rather than rail to move bulk grains, and a larger soy crop without significant improvements to Brazil’s overstressed transport grid has spurred warnings of long wait times in 2014.
International firms like Cargill, Bunge, Louis Dreyfus and Noble operate grain and sugar terminals at Santos.
Analysts at International FCStone estimated Brazil would export 46 million tonnes of soy from a record 90-million-tonne crop that just started harvesting.
The head of Sao Paulo’s logistics and transportation department, Saulo de Castro Abreu Filho, said it would be impossible to completely stop unscheduled trucks from arriving at the port.
“We could still have problems, but at least we will know immediately who is causing the problem,” he told journalists.
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