Jul 08, 2020

Brazil's Logistics Performing Better than Expected during Pandemic

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

When the Covid-19 pandemic started to spread across Brazil, there were widespread worries that it could negatively impact Brazilian logistics and especially port activities. Up until this point, Brazilian logistics have performed much better than expected with only scattered minor problems.

The Brazilian Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas, conducted a video conference last week summarizing the first six months of 2020 and he indicated that in the midst of an unpresented pandemic, Brazil's infrastructure functioned more-or-less normally. The supermarket shelves remained stocked, gas stations remained operational, cooking gas was available, and hospital supplies were delivered.

There have been problems with Covid-19 outbreaks at meat packing facilities, but unlike the U.S where there are relatively few but large facilities, Brazil's meat packing facilities are smaller and more numerous. When one facility is shut down, others can supply the marketplace resulting in only minor disruptions in the meat supply.

He credits the country's success to measures taken to insure that truck drivers could continue working under favorable sanitary conditions. The country established medical triage units at popular truck stops and at ports to address any medical concerns of the truck drivers. Truckers were furnished with food and hygiene kits so they could keep working. Ports established stick protocols to keep workers on the job and more emphasis was put on rail transport for grain and mineral exports.

The Minister also indicated that they were able to deliver many infrastructure projects that were near completion at the start of 2020. There were 36 inaugurations of completed projects between January and June of this year including 23 between March and June, which was the period most impacted by the pandemic.