Brazil ditches Port of Santos privatisation

Brazil ditches Port of Santos privatisation

The Government of Brazil will not go ahead with the privatisation of the Port of Santos, quoted in a local newspaper.

Marcio Franca, incoming Minister of Ports and Airports, shared his comments to O Estado de S. Paulo’s online edition on 22 December.

Former-President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration had previously mapped out plans to privatise the port – the largest in Latin America – in the second half of 2022.

The Brazilian National Waterway Transport Agency (ANTAQ) approved the public concession process for the Port of Santos on 12 September.

The process had never been completed due to procedural difficulties, including getting final approval from the Federal Audit Court (TCU).

The bidding process scheduled for 2023 has now been scrapped.

“The [privatisation] auction will not take place,” Franca told O Estado.

“The port authority will remain state-owned. What we will do is concessions for areas within the port, for private terminals. Where [concession agreements] have already been made, we respect [it].”

He added that “while the incoming government has no issues with private-sector involvement in port activities, the state should be able to properly regulate the sector.”

The original project was structured to provide BRL6.3 billion ($1.2 billion) in new investments, of which BRL2.1 billion ($406 million) would have been allocated to port infrastructure and BRL4.2 billion ($813 million) to the construction of a submerged tunnel to connect the cities of Santos and Guarujá.

In November, the Santos Port Authority (SPA) ended the third quarter with a net profit of BRL136 million ($26 million), a growth of 38.3 per cent on 2021’s numbers.

The port moved 42.8 million tons in the quarter, an increase of 17.8 per cent, the port’s best quarter ever.

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