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Far East service switch to rising star Imbituba

Far East service switch to rising star Imbituba

Santiago: Chilean flag carrier Compania SudAmericana de Vapores (CSAV) has switched its Far Eastern service to the East Coast of South America from Itajai to the southern Brazilian port of Imbituba since devastating flooding closed down Itajai (Brazil's number two port for containers) throughout December.

And, according to sources in Imbituba, the Chilean line is considering making the switch a permanent one.
A reliable source at Tecon Imbituba told Seatrade Asia Online: "Imbituba is still a small port and today we have three regular CSAV services, to the Southern Cone (Argentina and Chile), the Far East and Europe. CSAV services to Far East and Europe started to operate in Imbituba after the Itajai flooding and we are confident we can hang on to them for some months to come."

Dredging is progressing at Itajai and some lines have already returned there (although operating with restricted loads due to the lack of draft), but it is not yet known if, or when, the Chilean carrier will return to Itajai, with its Far East service.
Owner Santos Brasil (which also operates box terminals in Santos and Vila do Conde, in the north of Brazil) has just completed the first phase of its dredging programme in Imbituba (using the Van Oord owned and operated Breydel) which has given the port a deeper draft of 10.5 metres as opposed to the 9.5 metres that Grupo Libra was used to working with.

And Richard Klien, the chairman of Santos Brasil, says that Imbituba will have two berths with 12.5 m by the end of this year and could go down to around 14.5 metres or 15 metres by the end of 2010.

This might attract Asian carriers such as Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) and NYK Line to use the unsung southern Brazilian port as a possible future hub for the South Brazil/River Plate region.

NYK Line has begun calling Itajai again, but with a restricted draft ofjust 8.4 m (compared to the 10.5 m before the flooding), the 2,500 TEU capacity vessels it uses on its Asia service, are having to leave the port very light.  [11/02/09]