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.

06 May 2016
Ecoporto Santos has had to lay off more staff as container throughput has fallen to just a trickle.
04 May 2016
Unexpected and unseasonably rough seas caused the closure of Santos, South America’s biggest port for containers.
28 Apr 2016
Political convulsions in Brazil are taking a toll on the port sector, forcing the resignation of Ports Minister Helder Barbalho mere months after he assumed the position.
SOLAS verified gross mass VGM IMO container weights
25 Apr 2016
Less than 100 days before the container weight rule takes effect, a fight is brewing over whether terminal operators in Brazil should charge for inputting verified gross mass declarations as part of the new SOLAS container weight rule.
05 Apr 2016
The already bleak situation facing the container terminals at Brazil’s port of Santos has become even more dire.
30 Mar 2016
The exit of the PMDB party from Brazil’s ruling coalition casts fresh doubt on the ability of the government to adequately dredge the port of Santos in a timely manner as it clears the way for the minister of the Special Ports Ministry, a PMDB member, to leave his post.
23 Mar 2016
Embraport, one of Brazil’s newest container terminals in the Port of Santos, is looking to bring in a new partner to spread the risk of running the operation against a background of falling box volumes in Brazil, sharp falls in profitable imports, and overcapacity at Santos.
22 Mar 2016
Some 4,000 dockworkers in Santos, Brazil, South America’s top port, carried out a wildcat and possibly illegal strike and picket Monday, slowing movement at four port terminals, including the two leading container facilities in the port.
18 Mar 2016
Political corruption that has riveted Brazilians like a telenova and driven millions into the streets is slowing down the country’s bureaucracy and imperiling critical infrastructure projects.
07 Mar 2016
Shippers in the Brazilian market should prepare for unrest as labor unions in the Port of Santos, South America’s largest port for containers, protest employment changes throughout the harbor.
27 Feb 2016
Brazil’s Minister for Ports, Helder Barbalho, outlined his plans to bring billions of dollars of new investment into the port sector at a seminar in Sao Paulo this week.
SOLAS verified gross mass VGM IMO container weight
17 Feb 2016
Brazil seems to have most things in place for the new Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS, container weight mandate of the International Maritime Organization, according to several terminal managers and trade and maritime commentators in the South American country.
12 Feb 2016
After volume rose 2.6 percent year-over-year in 2015, the Santos port authority expects volume through South America’s largest container port to inch up slightly this year, as the recession takes its toll, particularly on trade with its top trade partner, China.
03 Feb 2016
Although overall export revenues for Brazilian shoes fell 10 percent last year, to $960.4 million, sales during the last month of December ended on a high and rocketed 60 percent from November, to $119.57 million, raising the sector’s expectations for this year, according to Heitor Klein, the chief executive of Abicalçados, the Brazilian Association of Footwear Manufacturers.
27 Jan 2016
Localfrio Logistica, owner of the container storage facility at the Port of Santos where a fire recently broke out and temporarily closed a container terminal, has been hit with fines totaling 10.149 million reais ($2.51 million).
20 Jan 2016
Two of three of the most important Brazilian port deepening projects are advancing, paving the way for container lines to eventually bring the larger vessels that will soon to be able to traverse the larger Panama Canal locks to the ports of Rio de Janeiro and Recife.
17 Jan 2016
The Tecon Santos container terminal reopened Saturday night after firefighters put out a blaze at the largest South American port gateway that lasted more than 40 hours.
15 Jan 2016
After a chemical fire closed the biggest terminal at South America’s largest container gateway, container lines are considering rerouting cargo away from the facility of Tecon Santos to other terminals at the Port of Santos and other Brazilian ports.
14 Jan 2016
Fire at South America’s busiest container gateway of the Port of Santos has crippled operations at the port for the second time in less than a year, closing a marine terminal that handles about a third of the port’s container volume, according to a Reuters report.
07 Jan 2016
Brazil’s government needs to offer more guarantees investments will not be interfered with if foreign global terminal operators are to participate in the latest port concession process, according to Wilen Manteli, president of the Brazilian Association of Ports and Terminals.
05 Jan 2016
Brazil rail operator MRS Logistica, Tuesday morning began informing thousands of its shipper clients that its operations are up and running following a devastating fire just before Christmas at one of its key terminals.
28 Dec 2015
South America’s leading container port of Santos has discovered and detained record levels of counterfeit goods in both tonnage and monetary terms as customs authorities step up their cooperation and detection efforts to crack down on fake imports.
24 Dec 2015
Grimaldi Group has thrown its hat into the ring for two multi-purpose terminals that will be concessioned in Brazil in the next two years.
16 Dec 2015
Brazil rail operator MRS Logistica SA’s expects container volume to rise at least 10 percent year-over-year in 2016 after volume jumped 34 percent during the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period in 2014.
07 Dec 2015
Construction has begun on a 103.77 million reais ($27.63 million) entrance road into the port of Santos, Latin America’s largest container port.
13 Nov 2015
A mass protest by independent truckers and stevedores that threatened to shut down the port of Santos, Latin America’s largest container gateway, failed to materialize.
10 Nov 2015
Stevedores at Brazil’s port of Santos, Latin America’s largest container port, will join striking independent truck drivers demanding the resignation of President Dilma Rousseff.
05 Oct 2015
Santos Brasil by 2047 plans to invest $324.4 million to allow the Tecon Santos terminal to handle larger ships and boost capacity by one-fifth after South America’s biggest container terminal operator received a 25-year concession extension at the busiest container gateway in Latin America.
02 Oct 2015
Protesting dock workers brought parts of the Brazilian port city of Santos to a standstill yesterday after the Ecoporto Santos container terminal laid off 200 workers and set out plans to sack another 200 as it fights to stay competitive in the oversaturated container terminal sector of South America’s biggest port.
01 Oct 2015
German port operator Eurogate has acquired a 16.67 percent interest in Contrail Logistica, a Brazilian provider of intermodal transport solutions in the hinterland of Santos.
29 Sep 2015
Strikes and slowdowns by Brazil’s customs officers are creating serious delays for chicken exporters in Brazil, according to the Brazilian Association for Animal Protein (ABPA).
Aerial photo of Santos port
25 Sep 2015
A university professor thinks he may have found a solution for saving a project to dredge the channel into the port of Santos to 17 meters, or 56 feet, and also the town’s prestigious beaches from erosion as a result of that dredging.
APM Terminals, Brazil Port of Itajai
24 Sep 2015
As a concession to the owners of the established port terminals and to encourage them to invest more in their container terminals, Brazil’s Special Ports Ministry has been negotiating to extend the concession periods before the contracts require.
16 Sep 2015
Amid shaky Brazilian business confidence, the country’s agriculture and livestock minister is trumpeting the near completion of dozens of contracts worth nearly $2 billion with importers in 14 countries.
08 Sep 2015
A long-running legal dispute between the Santos port authority and Grupo Libra over unpaid fees is coming to an end, paving the way for the terminal operator to invest $195.3 million in its two facilities at the busiest Latin American container gateway.