May 04, 2023

More of Brazil's Grain Exports Leave via Brazil's Northern Ports

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

During the first three months of 2023, Brazil exported more than 9 million tons of corn with 3.56 million exported from the "Northern Arc" of ports in northern and northeastern Brazil. This represented 36% of the total and for the first time, it surpassed the corn exports from the Port of Santos in southeastern Brazil, which was responsible for 25% of Brazil's corn exports during the first three months of 2023.

There are four principal ports that comprise the "Northern Arc," but the ports of Barcarena (at the mouth of the Amazon River) and Itaqui on the northeast Atlantic Coast of Brazil were responsible for 78% of the total corn exports from northern Brazil.

The northern ports offer lower transportation costs compared to ports in southeastern Brazil especially for crops produced in north-central Brazil. Additionally, Brazil has started importing fertilizers via these northern ports, so trucks can now back-haul fertilizers instead of returning empty, reducing costs even further according to Thome Guth, superintend of Logistical Operations for Conab.

The Port of Santos remained the main port for soybean exports during the first three months of the year responsible for 43% of Brazil's soybean exports, but the northern ports were not far behind with 37.6% of the total soybean exports during the period.

Exports via the Port of Paranagua in southeastern Brazil declined during the first three months of 2023 due to heavy rains that caused landslides resulting in temporary closures of highways leading to the port. The closures forced exporters to route their gain to other Brazilian ports. The Port of Paranagua was responsible for 8.7% of Brazil's grain exports during the first three months of 2023 compared to 15.2% a year earlier.