The twice weekly feeder service from Terminal Santa Clara (CONTESC), located in Triunfo, 42 nautical miles along the Rio Jacui from Porto Alegre - which is the Rio Grande state capital with a metropolitan area population of 4.4 million- has been running since October of last year. Up until mid March it had already handled 1,500 containers (around 2,300 TEU) and there are many more to come, according to TRG. From there the boxes are loaded onto more than 14 deep-sea services from TRG to most corners of the globe.
On top of this TRG, which is owned by the Wilson, Sons shipping group (which also has interests in shipping agencies, offshore services, tugs and logistics and another port terminal in Salvador), is also planning to make further investments when it expands its quay length over the next year or so, from 900 meters up to 1200 meters. This is so it can accommodate the largest vessels that will be calling along the East Coast of South America (ECSA) in the near future.
The equipment has been purchased from ZPMC in China and should be ready to use by the first week in April. It includes three new Ship to Shore Gantry Cranes (SSGCs), and eight Rubber Tired Gantry Cranes (RTGs). This means that TRG will now deploy nine SSGCs in Rio Grande, of which two are from IMPSA of Argentina and seven are from ZPMC and all of them can operate across 22 rows of containers, according to TRG. With the new delivery TRG now has 22 RTGs. According to the CEO of Tecon Rio Grande, Paulo Bertinetti, the aim of the $40million investment is to equip the terminal to meet the arrival of new, larger ships with a gain in average productivity of around 45 percent.
TRG handled 743,000 TEu last year, up 3.2 percent over the 719,500 TEU of 2015, up from 687,100 TEU in 2014 which was itself up 6.1 percent over the 2013 volume. During the first two months of 2017 TRG handled 110,341 TEU, approximately the same as in the same two months of 2016.
“The new equipment will offer our customers greater agility, optimization of operations and increased productivity. With this, we will meet one of the main demands of our shipping customers,” declared Bertinetti. To support this new equipment package, TRG has also purchased 42 trucks and 18 semi-trailers, in addition to hiring more than 80 new employees. The new cranes arrived from China just over 40 days ago. The aim of the CONTESC service, which is operated by Wilport Portuarias Operadores (a branch of Wilson, Sons) is to get more than 300 trucks off the roads every week on the long haul, five hour plus journey of about 325 km, from the Porto Alegre hinterland, down to the port of Rio Grande, according to Bertinetti. Instead of trucks making this congested, circuitous and polluting journey the twice weekly service can traverse the Lago dos Patos (Lake of Ducks), a distance of 205 miles or 178 nautical miles.
CONTESC is a partnership between Wilson, Sons group and Braskem, Brazil’s largest petrochemical companies, and within the 100 km hinterland of the terminal are some of the largest Brazilian exporters in resins, beef and chicken, tobacco, machinery, leather goods, steel, furniture and wood-chip.
Apart from Braskem the next biggest exporter using CONTESC is the coach builder Marcopolo, which is headquartered at Caxias do Sul (100 km from Triunfo) and, up to early March, had shipped 72 containers (around 100 TEU) via the feeder service and Tramontina, a cookware, cutlery (especially knives) and home appliances outfit, is the biggest importer with 94 containers shipped into Triunfo between October and early March.
And on the subject of gas emissions Bertinetti reiterated the improvement in air quality and reduction in congestion that will result from taking more than 300 trucks per week off the busy Rio Grande do Sul highways. “We should be able to take out significant volumes of green house gas emissions with our feeder service,” said the TRG CEO. “This is a highly strategic project for the state of Rio Grande do Sul and will make us more competitive. We have a transport mode here that will create improvements, leverage logistical projects, reduce costs and eliminate risks of road accidents and reduce pollution.”