Port of Santos
Port of Santos
Although Santos is the largest container port in Latin America, it ranks only 42nd on the JOC list of Top 50 Container ports (using 2017 data). More than 40 percent of Brazil’s containers are handled by the Port of Santos, as well as about one-third its of trade, including its vast hinterland that includes the state of Paraná, and 60 percent of Brazil’s GDP. For those reasons, efficient Santos is crucial to the success of companies affiliated to Fiesp and also the Confederation of National Industries of Brazil.
Brazil's largest container port has opened several new terminals in the last few years. Growth resumed in 2017 after a contraction in 2016 due to the worst recession in the country's history. In 2018 Brazil’s busiest container port handled 4.3 million TEUs, compared with 3.85 million TEUs in 2017.
Shippers and ocean carriers using Santos have been complaining about congestion and labor disputes at the port, and about the politicization and the time-consuming bureaucracy of the Port Authority for Santos, known as CODESP (Companhia Docas do Estado do São Paulo). Many argue “regionalization” might help solve problems, including a lack of dredging to issues such as improved/expanded infrastructure.
Various business groups including the Federation of Industries for the state of São Paulo (Fiesp), the most powerful shipper group in Brazil, back the effort to privatize port management, aiming to cut inefficiencies and alleged corruption.
In an effort to boost such efforts at modernizing Santos, Brazil’s President-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, is putting together a government team and declaring various policy goals and options, including the privatization of all the port authorities.