Bulk carriers operating in Argentina’s Rosario export hub face the likelihood of loading 40% less grain by the end of September or early October as water levels continue to fall the key Parana river, Guillermo Wade, general manager of the Chamber of Port and Maritime Activity, has told Agricensus.
Handymax ships, that normally load between 35,000 and 40,000 mt, will probably load 17,000-18,000 mt less due to the lower water levels by that time if the river conditions continue to deteriorate as expected.
For panamax vessels, with a capacity of up to 70,000 mt, ships could be loading up to 21,000 mt less volume, Wade said.
The executive also said that bulk carriers are currently loading 21% less of grain at Rosario ports due to the low water levels in the river.
Bulk carriers that cannot complete grain loads at Rosario ports have to go to Necochea or Bahia Blanca terminals, in the south of Buenos Aires Province, or to ports in the south of Brazil to complete loads, generating higher costs for shipping companies
Low water levels on the Parana River could generate losses of $315 million for the Argentine agroindustrial sector between March and August 2021, a recent study by the Rosario Grain Exchange (BCR) has found.
The complex managed 70% of all grain exports in 2020, as well as 96% of all meals and 96% of all vegoils while the river is a key artery connecting Argentina’s Rosario hub to global export markets.
According to the latest available data from Argentina’s national water institute (INA), water levels near Rosario are currently around 0.04 metres versus the historical average of 3.22 metres for July.
Based on weather forecasts, those levels are only expected to continue to decline with no improvements in water levels expected for the next three months, according to the INA.
Earlier this week, the Argentine government declared a state of hydric emergency lasting for a period of 180 days, whereby the government will adopt measures to mitigate the severe situation caused by Parana’s low water levels.