Brazil rail operator hopes to steam through recession to record year

Brazil rail operator hopes to steam through recession to record year

Despite the Brazilian recession, rail operator and logistics company Brado Logistica expects new shipper contracts and services to drive containerized rail volume up at least 15 percent this year compared with 2015.

Volume handled by the company in 2015 rose only slightly to 78,000 full containers, but Brado is noting more interest from shippers to save money, gain better efficiency and keep their goods safer by converting loads from the road to the rails. The double-digit volume gain forecast by Brado would set an annual record of 90,000 containers.

“Multimodality is our new focus and it will eventually go far beyond our main current focus on the transport of the container by rail,” said Angelo Baptista, the company’s commercial director.

Brado is focused purely on the container sector after its parent company Cosan Group bought rail operator Rumo Logistica last year. Brado operates on the rail track of its sister company América Latina Logistica as an independent rail operator where it uses the tracks and infrastructure of rival rail operators such as MRS Logistica or Vale, a multinational iron ore company.

A Brado spokesperson said the company respects the operational characteristics of each of the transport modes for containerized cargo, “using the railroad for long distances, the road for short transits and waterways for access to specific regions, all integrated to deliver the necessary solution to the client.″

Over the past five years Brado Logistica has invested around 230 million reais ($65 million) to buy 3,475 of its own branded containers, 2,424 train wagons, 13 locomotives, 5 reach stackers and 3 cranes.

Brado is also very keen to operate a direct rail service to the north Brazilian coast once the long-discussed north-south railway is built by the government. The so-called “Norte-Sul” rail link runs from Anápolis, in the central state of Goias, up to Açailândia, from where the famous Carajas railway line runs west to the huge Vale iron ore mines at Carajas and northeast to the ports of Itaqui and São Luís, in the state of Maranhão.

Connecting the southeast and central regions of Brazil with the north, and the port of Belem in particular, would open up a multitude of opportunities for rail operators like Brado. In the meantime, the connection between Estrela d'Oeste, to the south of Anápolis, is being constructed and the section between Açailândia and Belem still awaits government funding.

Brado hopes to increase volumes by helping shippers in Manaus shift manufactured goods, such as pharmaceuticals, electronic goods, and motorcycles to the south and southeast, and transporting rice, chicken, cellulose and various foodstuffs to back to Manaus.

The company has multimodal terminals in 16 locations in the south, southeast and center west of Brazil, with the three main ones being in Cubatão, near the port of Santos, Rondonópolis, in Mato Grosso, and Cambirdge, in the state of Parana.

The volume of cargo moved by railroad in Brazil has grown from 253.3 million metric tons (279.2 million tons) in 1997 to 475 million metric tons in 2015, and the government is keen for much more cargo to be shifted from the road and onto trains.

Contact Rob Ward at