Porto do Açu: Can solid growth make the port one of the most important in the country?

  • 02/06/2020
  • 9 minutes

Porto do Açu, one of the most important ports in Brazil, is going through a period of solid growth, and this impacts the maritime market in countless ways. However, what explains this growth? In what ways does it manifest?

For you to know more about the topic, we have prepared this content. As you read, you will find interesting numbers about development and some perspectives for the future. Enjoy the information!

Why has Porto do Açu grown so much?

In order to answer these questions as accurately as possible, we spoke with João Braz, who is director of Terminals and Logistics at Porto do Açu Operações. According to the specialist, Porto do Açu is a 100% private enterprise and has established itself as one of the main hubs of the country’s O&G (Oil & Gas) sector, transporting cargo and expanding the provision of services to the sector. 

“We are a one stop shop platform and we offer different business alternatives for all agents in the oil and gas (O&G) market chain, in addition to serving several other industries”, explains João. 

More than being the origin of the manufacture and movement of equipment and materials for maritime operations, the port is the destination of the O&G produced in the Brazilian basins. Also according to the director, Porto do Açu is guided by five fundamental values:

  • safety;
  • integrity;
  • efficiency;
  • sustainability;
  • collaboration.

What also helps to understand its exponential growth is the fact that the port has expanded its cargo and customer portfolio, highlighting the movement of iron ore, general cargo and other solid bulk, since customized solutions are developed according to needs of each market or customer.

Another relevant unique feature of the largest port complex, when it comes to the industrial and energy sector in Brazil, is its strategic location: it is located in the municipality of São João da Barra, north of Rio de Janeiro and close to the Campos, Santos and Espírito Santo basins.

In the municipality, a complete Oil and Gas (O&G) hub is under development, capable of connecting to the pipeline network already existing in the Southeast Region, which will be very strategic for this industry. “One of the projects we have in progress is a robust thermoelectric park, with 3 gigawatts of capacity”, points out João.

It should be noted that, from Açu, leading companies in the supply of goods and services to the O&G market operate. The enterprise, which has 14 companies installed, also has a retro area for the installation of new organizations from the most varied segments.

How are the numbers of Porto do Açu in recent years?

So far, it has been clear that the massive investment in infrastructure has generated good results for Porto do Açu, which has been operating since 2014 and which has a total area of 130 km² — 40 km² of that space is destined for the environmental reserve. As if this was not enough, the port has expanded the types of cargo handled and customers, consolidating itself as a good alternative for exporting and importing products.

 “Currently,” explains the director, “the complex handles oil, coke, pig iron, beach iron, iron ore, coal, bauxite and gypsum, in addition to general cargo and projects. Açu is also developing the necessary infrastructure to move containers”.

According to João, the Iron Ore Terminal, for example, handled more than 23 million tons in 2019, reaching its record. The Petroleum Terminal, in turn, is responsible for 25% of Brazilian oil exports and ended the year with around 72 million barrels moved. In 2019, the growth presented was 80%, when compared to the year 2018, whose movement did not exceed the mark of 40 million barrels.

Also in this regard, the Açu Multicargas Terminal reached the milestone of 2 million tons moved. This number has been growing since the beginning of its operations, in 2016 — there was a significant expansion of the portfolio of cargo and clients served, which led to important operating records.

“In the complex, we have more than 5 kilometers of quays built to carry out moorings and more than 30 loading berths linked to offshore logistics. In 2019, we obtained a total of accesses of 3,252 vessels, exceeding the number of accesses registered in the previous year”, reports João.

What are the prospects for the future of Porto do Açu?

As with the ports of Arco Norte and the Oil and Gas (O&G) sector in general, it is very likely that the coming years will be encouraging for Porto do Açu — the complex has shown positive growth rates since the beginning of its operations.

When commenting on the future, João brings interesting data. “We should receive approximately R$ 16.5 billion in investments in the next 5 years”. The director says that this amount will be invested by the companies installed in the complex and destined for the implantation of thermoelectric plants, gas pipelines, oil pipelines, oil tanking park and UPGN (Natural Gas Processing Unit), among others.

When it started operating in 2014, the port received more than R$ 13 billion in investments in port infrastructure and in the installation of the 14 companies that operate in the complex. This was the first stage of implantation of the port and materialized the development of logistics and service hubs for ore and oil.

“In the second stage of development, the connection of the complex to the network of oil and gas pipelines in the region is expected, as well as the generation of electricity in Açu itself”, projects João.

As a result, the availability of gas in the complex from 2023 on, according to estimates, will leverage the attraction of new industries: the main objective of the third stage of development of the complex. Among the sectors that can be installed on site, it is worth mentioning:

  • petrochemicals;
  • refineries;
  • steel mills;
  • fertilizer industries.

With the figures presented, Porto do Açu has everything to consolidate itself as one of the most important in the country. Recent growth and planning help to understand why this is likely to happen.

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