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Brazil a stronghold for Japanese car carriers

Brazil a stronghold for Japanese car carriers

Rio de Janeiro: Japanese car carriers operating out of Brazil are reporting a healthy rise in imports - of between 15-20% - despite the world economic downturn, and the star performer is said to be several Hyundai models, manufactured in Mexico and Korea.

Brazil has not been affected so badly by the global financial crisis as many other countries and so the local currency, the Real, has been strengthening, and to keep the economy on an even keel, resident Luis Inacio Lula da Silva introduced a swathe of cuts on various domestic and import taxes to keep the car market buoyant.

As one line manager for NYK Line's South American services told Seatrade Asia Online: "With a very favourable exchange rate right now for Brazilian car importers and the Korean Won growing weaker throughout this year, we are seeing some big increases in various Hyundai models. Funnily enough exports are down out of Brazil, due to worldwide import markets not having the money, but they haven't really fallen that much since the Brazilian Real really started strengthening, over the past two months."
He added that cars imported into Brazil from Korea were now more than 20% cheaper than this time last year.

As well as NYK Line's two services from Brazil and Argentina (to North America and Mexico), rival operators K Line and MOL (as partners with the Chileans CSAV) also run services from the East Coast of South America to various worldwide destinations.

Brazil still exports huge volumes of cars, despite the recent fall, and the NYK manager said that utilisation rates were at 65% on the stronger northbound leg into the US and were holding out at 50%southbound,although he thought rivals carriers were experiencing closer to 35% northbound.

The main import port into Brazil is Vitoria, where many tax benefits are available, and the main ports for exports are Paranagua and Santos.