What are the prospects for imports in 2021? See below a complete scenario

  • 16/06/2021
  • 12 minutes

2020 was a challenging year for all economic sectors. The Covid pandemic, the Dollar rise and the international uncertainty ended up making life difficult for whom invests in the commerce of products in general or in commodities.

Nevertheless, the agribusiness succeeded to keep up solidly, even before the adversities. And actions such as cuts in the tax rules promise to breathe life into the imports in 2021.

What does this new year suggests for the purchase of products in the international market? We have invited Úrsula Schmitz and Silvia Rosa, commercial executives of Wilson Sons Shipping Service, to give us a projection for this year.

Understand the overall scenario for the imports in 2021

Historically, the biggest import volumes in Brazil are destined to support for the industry and agribusiness. Fuel oil represents, for sure, the biggest portion of imports, but, following closely behind, comes the purchase of fertilizers.

The O&G (oil and gas) industry was impacted by the initial fall in demand in the first months of pandemic. On the other hand, the volume of imports of other sectors remained stable along the year, even with an expected decrease in the international commerce due to the sanitary restrictions implemented in almost every part of the globe.

Therefore, the prospects henceforth are positive. The recovery must occur in different speed, in accordance of the reality of each sector, but 2021 promises to be a year to catch up and grow again.

Know the best highlights foreseen for the year

To better understand what is expected from Brazilian imports, we can analyse the category that has had an outstanding position for its linearity of commerce during the pandemics and its projected growth rate for the future in short terms. We are talking about fertilizers for agricultural activities.

“We have seen year after year the growth of fertilizers and raw material imports”, says Úrsula. In her opinion, the 2021 scenario suggests that this tendency will not change, with an increasing volume of imports.

“According to data published by studies and entities of the sector, an increase of 2% is expected in the volume of fertilizers and raw material in comparison to 2020”, explains Úrsula.

The reasons behind this optimism

This positive projection is mostly due to the behavior of fertilizers market, even along the Covid-19 pandemics, during which the volume of imports kept its linearity – above, by the way, the shrinkage forecasted for all sectors.

Of course, there were moments of uncertainty and fall in imports during this period, mainly because of the Dollar rise. However, it was not an obstacle for the evolution referred by the specialist.

“The grain producers capitalized and went shopping”. We have even seen orders being brought forward in 2021”, for different reasons, mainly because companies feared a raw material shortage due to the corona virus pandemic”, explains Úrsula.

The expectation for 2020 is that the balance of trade will amount to 38 million tons of fertilizers, compared to 36,2 million in 2019. It is a remarkable increase, if we take into account the challenging scenario we faced last year.

The sector responsible for this growth

This stability in fertilizers imports has much to do with the strength of agribusiness in Brazil. The final result estimated by ANEC (National Association of Shippers of Cereals) is that it will reach as much as 82,3 million of tons of soya exported in 2020 – a growth of 13,4% compared to 2019.

In this case, the Dollar rise initially increases companies’ margin, being a motivating factor for the investments in production. The forecast for 2021 is to break the records in this regard.

“Agribusiness was one of the segments that had the least losses caused by these impacts, even in such an atypical year”, comments Silvia Rosa.

She mentions that there was some uncertainty for both importers and exporters. This caused the market to reduce its rhythm in the beginning of the pandemic, but it caught up its breath and moved on “even breaking records in exports, hitting the mark of USD 100,8 billion, the second biggest volume in history, according to SECEX (Foreign Trade Secretary).

The imports in general, that is, in a more macro vision of the market and not limited to fertilizers only, had a slight decrease, of little significance. “If we analyze only the imports of fertilizers, we will observe a growing trend year after year, without important losses, and always highlighted among the other commodities. The official data of annual results of fertilizers imports will be published at the end of January and, thus, we will be able to divulge them, crediting the information to the respective sources”, informs Silvia.

Specialists consider that the results in the Brazilian trade was highly influenced by the rhythm of recovery of the Asian economies, that have been showing to be quickly back on tracks. China has registered a 4,9% GDP growth in the third trimester of 2020, evidencing this recovery.

And the increase of agricultural production directly represents an increase in the demand for fertilizers, which explains its growth irrespective of these difficult times.

What is expected in 2021

Úrsula envisages that the same level of growth we have seen in the last years is evidenced in 2021. She and Silvia foresee an economic recovery scenario, with an increase of agricultural products exports and the intensification of technology and logistic optimization in the sector.

Learn how to count on specialized assistant at this moment

It is no secret that the efforts of planning and inserting technology in the routine of shipping agency is one of the primary responsible for this constant growth in imports and exports of this sector.

With more intelligent processes, costs are cut down, profit margins are maximized and deadlines are shortened. When relying on specialized assistance, the modern charterer has a much complete view and control over the whole chain.

This, for example, is the root of the transformation that Wilson Sons Shipping Services has gone through in the recent years. The biggest and best structured agency in Brazil has invested in technology, integration and port intelligence to offer even more to its clients.

The company’s certifications evidence it. Wilson Sons has obtained a Trace Certification, that guarantees conformity with the highest transparency levels, as a result of a strong corporate governance. We have achieved 7 years without medical leaves due to accidents, as audited by Dupont, a world reference.

“The company has a strong compliance, and acts in conformity with the anti-corruption laws”, confirms Úrsula. She lists the differentials of the company specifically focused on the fertilizers market that help importers in this process:

  • Shared Services Center, SCS, a tool that facilitates the processing and issuance of B/Ls and releasing them at the port of discharge nominated by the charterer:
  • Daily line-ups with all ports of fertilizers discharge consolidated;
  • Fertilizer Port Handbooks, mapping all ports where fertilizers are discharged, with respective restrictions and particulars;
  • Weekly analysis of the fertilizers discharge scenario (exclusive reports);
  • Statistics and reports of the Market (exclusive reports);
  • Laytime calculation (Burmester & Vogel System):
  • Pro-rata map, an exclusive tool developed by Wilson Sons Shipping Services;
  • One-off Whatsapp reports of ships of fertilizers under attendance;
  • 24/7 operational support and assistance of our commercial focal point;
  • Client’s web portal, a tool that integrates all information necessary for the follow up of the cargo and all its stages of the transport.

Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that Wilson Sons Shipping Service is the biggest and best structured agency in Brasil. With 184 years of continued activities, Wilson Sons is present in 61 ports along Brazilian coastline through its 18 branch offices.

Úrsula concludes saying that “in 2020, even amidst the new corona virus pandemic, Brazilian agriculture did not stop. On the contrary, a growth in all productive chain has been observed”.

This result is very much in consequence of the refinement of the sector in processes development, tools and systems to facilitate the commerce and the international maritime transport.

With the support of specialized companies, such as Wilson Sons, and the investment in the future of our market, the imports in 2021 promise to be even more impressive.

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