Innovating Brazil’s connection to the world through containers

  • 30/01/2024
  • 10 minutes

In the increasingly globalized and competitive business landscape, logistics efficiency becomes fundamental to the success of companies, especially for those involved in international trade.

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It is in this context that Tecon Rio Grande emerges as a protagonist, being a reference on the east coast of South America. “We are pioneers, the first privatized container terminal in the country” says Rodrigo Velho, commercial director of the unit.

With just over 25 years of operation, the terminal operates on the main maritime lines that connect southern Brazil to the world, presenting a cutting-edge infrastructure. “Our dedication to innovation is a constant”, a commitment that manifests itself through the voluminous figure of more than 275 million dollars invested in infrastructure, equipment, training and technology. 

Regarding the future, automation and transformation into a hub port in the Southern Cone region, adding scales from Argentina and Uruguay, mark the beginning of a broader movement for the terminal. “We understand that by vocation and ability, we are very close to seeing this happen”. Check out the following interview and discover everything that Tecon Rio Grande is capable of providing for your business.

Global connectivity

Located 320 km from Porto Alegre, Tecon Rio Grande has an incredible 735,000 m2 and comprises the largest yard area in the country. Part of the port complex called Superporto do Rio Grande, it is the central geographic point that offers the greatest depth for ships to operate, in addition to being the southernmost seaport in Brazil.

This strategic connection point between the south of the country and the world, with direct access to 11 important maritime lines, is a gateway for importers and an outlet for exporters seeking to broaden their commercial horizons. Connected to Tecon Santa Clara, a multimodal solution also operated by Wilson Sons, the terminal is able to move cargo safely, sustainably and cost-effectively, through four weekly navigation port calls through Lagoa dos Patos.

“This global connectivity offers the opportunity to reach international markets efficiently and sustainably. The transport of containers between the metropolitan region of Porto Alegre and Tecon Rio Grande, through Tecon Santa Clara, promotes a reduction of more than 90% in CO2 emissions from cargo transport, an important reduction for companies committed to the ESG agenda.”

The commitment to sustainability is a differential that the Wilson Sons terminal provides, attested by international bodies and entities, such as the gold seal of the GHG Protocol program, achieved for the second consecutive year. The certification is the highest level of recognition for companies that demonstrate transparency in their inventories of greenhouse gas emissions and guarantees the traceability of the energy source that arrives at the terminal, zeroing carbon emissions from its consumption.

In fact, all the electricity generated for its operation will come from renewable sources as early as 2024. “Our commitment to energy efficiency ranges from retrofitting our entire infrastructure to replacing equipment with more sustainable ones, such as the first electric cranes on wheels in Brazil, a milestone we share with Tecon Salvador, Wilson Sons’ terminal in Bahia”, explains Velho.

In addition to offering specialized services in foreign trade and cabotage, Tecon Rio Grande operates in the containerization of non-traditional cargoes, such as grains and fertilizers. This evolution of the containerization process is extremely relevant, guarantees the executive. “This is an efficient solution even for commodities that are not traditionally containerized, such as soybeans and wheat, important products in Brazil’s balance of trade.”

Precisely because it acts with an innovative posture, Velho admits that service and support are extremely important, emphasizing that effective communication is vital for the success of international logistics. “Tecon Rio Grande offers real-time visibility at all stages of the logistics process, allowing our partners to make assertive decisions”, he says.

Tecon Rio Grande: precursor of technologies in the Brazilian port sector

The pioneering history of Tecon Rio Grande is vast. Starting with being the first privatized terminal in the country, a concession signed by Wilson Sons in 1997. Shortly after, in 1999, the company began the works of duplication of the pier, which went from 300 meters to 600 meters in length, and in 2000, the terminal celebrated its first simultaneous operation, recalls the executive. “Today, Tecon Rio Grande has a static capacity of 25,000 TEU, distributed in three berths prepared to receive the largest ships sailing along the Brazilian coast. Other than that, we have 9 STSs, 22 RTGs, 2 Mobile Cranes, 12 Reach Stackers and 10 fully automated gates.”

Automation was, and continues to be, the key to increasing operational efficiency and reducing costs in international logistics, explains Velho. The terminal is recognized as the most automated in the country, which means that its partners can count on more agile and accurate processes in their operations. “As cargo volumes grow, efficiency needs to be gained, and technology comes to help. Today, we have the Navis N4, which provides a complete view of the yard and organizes cargoes as efficiently as possible. The electrification of equipment and digitalization result in a constant productivity gain. Last year alone, we recorded an average of 90 mph”, he says.

Combined with the increase in productivity, the commitment to the adoption of new technologies earned Wilson Sons the invitation to be the first and only member of Latin America in TIC 4.0, a global committee of the terminal industry, which fosters new paradigms for the sector and large-scale technological leaps.

“We have the most modern port operation system in the world and scan 100% of our cargo very quickly. This is already our reality. The novelty is the management of autonomous and remote equipment, which we are developing with the committee.”

Although the commitment to innovation is a guide for operations, Velho recalls the centrality of the container in logistics: “We really like to talk about disruptive technologies nowadays, but the invention of the container itself, still in the 1950s, was essential for international trade. The same container that ships in Rio Grande disembarks in Rotterdam and vice versa. Currently, we see a significant technological increase in the container structure itself, far beyond temperature control, but with real-time geolocation tracking.” 

In addition to investments in technology, Tecon Rio Grande projects significant growth in its transformation into a hub port, a concentrating navigation structure in the Southern Cone region, which encompasses Argentina and Uruguay, centralizing transshipment and re-shipment operations of goods:

“We understand that by vocation and ability, we are very close to seeing this happen. That is, Tecon Rio Grande has full capacity to receive partners from other international ports, such as the ports of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, transship and connect them to the main ports in the world.”

Did you become interested and want to know more about what Tecon Rio Grande can do for your business? Request contact from one of our experts.