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Asian lines resume Brazil services using Sao Franciso do Sul Port

Asian lines resume Brazil services using Sao Franciso do Sul Port

Tokyo: Asian carriers, including NYK Line, K Line, Hyundai, Evergreen and Hanjin, welcomed the news that the Brazilian port of Sao Franciso do Sul (SFDS) re-opened this week to help take the strain off the Brazilian port system following the terrible tragedy that saw 114 people killed by torrential rain and floods that led to the closure of the southern port of Itajai last week.

Two of the port of Itajai's three piers designated for containers have been closed down and are not expected to re-open for weeks, "if not months", according to one shipping line executive.

Divers are today carrying out inspections of the third pier, Pier number 4 (there is no Pier number two), and if that gets the thumbs up, and emergency dredging is carried out "within three weeks" as the Itajai Port Authority (IPA) is hoping for, then at least some services can return to the afflicted port.
Across the river the controversial Portonave terminal  - it opened without a public tender and is not using unionsied OGMO port labour - managed to escape major damages, and will be ready for business once the channel is dredged.

The operations manager for the TESC box terminal in SFDS, told Seatrade Asia Online today that an NYK Line vessel from the East Coast South America to US East Coast service was due on December 6 and that this week marked the first week that the port had been able to help out its flood stricken neighbour, owing to high winds that kept the port shut for several days last week. After that followed negoations with carriers seeking an alternative from Itajai. He added that roads up to the main industrial city of Joinville were now opened, following a clean-up operation after the floods.

SFDS and Itajai are very important ports for Brazil's important chicken exports to Asia and other worldwide markets. The business is worth USD5BN of exports every year, with 3.3M tones leaving Brazil, and around 65% of that via these two ports.

A line manager for Evergreen, who is based in Sao Paulo, told Seatrade Asia: "I think many owners will be relieved that SFDS has re-opened as that is the nearest and most logicial altenrative to Itajai. I don't see that opening, however, for weeks and weeks."

Evergreen slot charters on several services out of Itajai but most of its direct calls to Brazil are to the country's leading port of Santos.

NYK Line has already diverted its Asian service away from Itajai - where 20 contaienr ships have now missed their windows - and sailed direct to Santos.

After SFDS the next nearest port is Paranagua - before Santos - and owing to unseasonably heavy rainfall has had to ban night-time navigation of its navigations channel, causing further backlogs.  [03/12/08]