Itajai Port Reopened After Three-Week Closure

Brazil’s second-largest container port, Itajai, opened for the first time  after almost three-week closure due to heavy rains and wind that generated dangerous currents which prevented ships from calling or leaving the port, the Journal of Commerce reports.

The closure caused heavy losses for shippers, carriers, and terminal operators of the largest port for exporting poultry from Brazil.  Roughly 30 vessels had been unable to berth at the port during the past 21 days.

Ships had been prevented from entering and exiting the port because currents were in excess of 2 miles per hour, but as of Friday, the current had slowed to 1.4 mph, allowing port pilots to guide ships to the Itajai port safely.

Itajai handled 1.1 million TEU last year and a source at the IPA estimates that each missed ship call costs shipping lines $50,000 per day, so 30 missed calls amounts to $750,000 lost owing to the closure, without counting the extra costs incurred from having to reroute vessels to alternative ports.

The use of alternative ports such as Imbituba, Itapoa, or Paranagua are expensive, and Gouvêa hoped that force majeure due to flooding could help offset some of the losses.

More than 19,000 containers with various meat products were affected by the closure, according to Sindicarne, which counts BRF Foods, the biggest chicken exporter in the world, Seara, Aurora, and Fricasa among its members. Even if shippers turned to other ports, there was no guarantee of adequate reefer capacity.

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