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Like Durban, the Port of Santos goes through upgrade

Port of Santos in Brazil

Posted on April 17, 2024

Like the Port of Durban, the Brazilian Port of Santos – the busiest container port in South America – has now started a partial service while it waits for dredging to bring it up to its new design capability.

The MSC Challenger on the Gulf Service, when it berthed August 14, became the first container ship to call Brasil Terminal Portuário (BTP), the newest terminal at the Port of Santos.

The 5 700 TEU MSC Adriatic on the Ipanema service called the following day with 535 moves handled for load and discharge. “Our cranes, operating systems, scanners, gates and road access for truckers worked perfectly” commented Henry Robinson, BTP’s CEO.

The MSC Challenger is 233 metres in length, with a draft of 9.9m. Under the current draft limitations, BTP can only handle vessels with a draft of up to 11.2m, due to the navigation channel (called section 4) water depth. Once the dredging is completed the terminal can accommodate three vessels up to 9 200 TEU capacity and with a 15m draft simultaneously, representing today’s world-class port standards. The majority of strings calling in Brazil ports require 15m draft.

Although the 490 000 square metre terminal has been fully equipped and ready to receive vessels since March, phase one (400m quay and supporting container yard facilities) operating licenses were officially issued in July, and full operations will have to wait until the contracted dredging has been completed by the authorities, now scheduled for October .

“On August 1 we applied for phase 2 operating licenses for BTP which will allow us to extend the quay another 708m and build out the rest of the container yard,” said Tiemen Meester, chairman of BTP. “Our expectation is this government approval process will move quickly, since we already have phase one licensing done.”

The Port of Santos handled approximately 3 million TEUs in 2012, representing 25% of Brazil’s foreign trade. Brazil, with a GDP of US$2.4 trillion, is South America’s largest economy, and the 7th-largest in the world.


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