Fire at Paranagua hampers Brazil’s export logistics further

Shipping authorities assess the damages of last Saturday’s fire, as soybean and corn shipments may be affected

A fire at the Brazilian port of Paranagua late Saturday reportedly affected the shipping schedule for several vessels, including some carrying soybeans and soy meal, sources have told Fastmarkets Agriculture.

“This is all that Paranagua port did not need at the moment, on top of all the delays, rains, etc.,” Daniele Siqueira, grains and oilseeds market analyst at local consultancy Agrural told us.

In a note to clients, shipping agency Williams Brazil said the fire started in the night between Saturday and Sunday at the Terminal CAP, jointly operated by Bunge, and destroyed approximately 400 meters of conveyor belts.

“The incident has caused significant disruptions to operations at the terminal,” Williams said.

The agency added that “while Bunge’s conveyor belts remained undamaged, the junction connecting the two companies for loading at the ship loader was affected, leading to the temporary inoperability of Bunge.”

On its website, Cavalca Port Administration (CAP), which operates the Terminal CAP, published a statement confirming that a fire in its conveyor belts started at around 10 pm on Saturday.

“Our administration reiterates that the terminal was not in operation and the fire was controlled by the municipal fire department team”, said CAP, in the statement.

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Assessing causes and damages

The operator added that the cause of the fire has not yet been identified and is being investigated by the authorities.

When asked for a comment by Fastmarkets, CAP Port Administration added that it concluded the aftermath of the fire yesterday and will now conduct its assessment of the damages.

The company did not offer a projection of when the terminal will restart operating.

Bunge has not yet responded to another request for additional information from Fastmarkets.

According to some sources, the fire has affected the shipping schedule of several vessels, including some carrying soybeans and soy meal; although this information is not confirmed.

In a statement, Portos do Paraná, the public company that administers the ports of Paranaguá and Antonina, said that berth 201, used in Terminal CAP operations, was made available for “alternative operations”.

By “Alternative operations” Portos do Paraná means direct unloading movements, or without the use of belts and ship loaders to move solid bulk.

The berth 201 remained closed Sunday due to security measures.

The other berths in the port continue to operate normally, according to the company.

“Isolations in areas close to the site of the incident will be maintained, due to the damaged structures – which are being analyzed by the companies”, said Portos do Paraná.

The port of Paranagua, one of the Brazil’s key routes for exporting soybeans, corn and soy products to global markets, has been facing severe headwinds for several months.

The fire came as excessive rains had already been adding to large shipping delays resulting from the combination of soybean and corn volumes competing for port capacity.

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