Brazilian Congress gives nod to port reforms

  • Legislation to open up state-owned ports to private investors cleared by Congress

Brazil’s Congress has approved a legislation to pave the way for private investment in its state-owned ports and help lift restrictions that have hampered the build of private terminals.

The new regulatory framework, still subject to the approval of President Dilma Rousseff, is expected to lead in the medium term to private investment exceeding R$50 billion in the country’s ailing ports.

The ruling will also allow privately-owned terminals previously forced to handle only their own cargo to move third-party goods, according to ABC News.

Brazil’s government said that it hopes the legislation will help to eradicate the bottlenecking that has become a common sight at the country’s 34 ports, which handle as much as 95 percent of the country’s export trade. The now infamous bottlenecks at the nation’s ports often sees ships waiting up to 56 hours to dock, and last year the Port of Santos even witnessed trucks queuing over 20 miles to unload their goods.

Despite private investment playing a big part in the improvement of Brazil’s roads and railways, legislation has prevented private investment in the port sector.

The new law will not only help to open up Brazil’s state-owned ports to private operators, but will help to remove the red tape surrounding the employment of highly skilled foreign workers.

With Brazil’s exports down in 2012, President Rousseff has made the modernisation and competitiveness of its ports and terminals a top priority.

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