What is the future of maritime transportation in Brazil?

  • 30/06/2022
  • 10 分钟

2020 and 2021 have been challenging not only for business, but for all of humanity. But as vaccination progresses and we get through the pandemic, it is time to start looking at what lies ahead.

You can also listen to this article in the audio version.

A very interesting way to do this is to analyse the national economy through the eyes of those who make it possible on a global scale. Let’s talk about the future of maritime transportation in Brazil.

To do this, we invited Demir Lourenço, Executive Director of Tecon Salvador, to trace a panorama of projections for the coming years and what we can learn from what has happened. Check it out!

Plenty of room to grow

What governs the projections for the future of Brazilian shipping are not only the most recent results, but mainly the growth potential that still exists in the sector.

It is with this idea that Demir begins our conversation. As a comparison of the modal’s potential, he points out that the whole of Brazil handled less than 10 million TEUS (unit of measurement from the load of a 20-foot container), against 45 million only in the port of Shanghai.

Besides this disparity with international market leaders, the main issue is an existing gap between how much maritime cargo we could transport and what we do today. It is a potential ready to be exploited with investment in production, logistics, and infrastructure.

How the challenges are being overcome

Even with all this potential, Demir sees that there are still some points in the industry that need to be worked on to further increase the growth of maritime chartering in the future.

According to him, the bottleneck today is in the demand, with many companies focusing on the domestic market when they could use the modal to expand their operations and reach the entire world.

Even within the country itself, investment in cabotage is still less explored than it could be. “Brazil has 8 thousand km of coastline and its population and production are located very close to the coast. And then we see a movement of cargo by cabotage that is still very small.”

But these are challenges that do not prevent the Brazilian industry from growing and expanding each year using maritime transport as the centre of its strategies.

Since the 1990s, with the privatization of terminals and important laws such as the PL of BR of the Sea, Brazil has been constantly moving in search of this untapped potential.

Currently, the sector has a technological infrastructure that is second to none in the world, as well as large investments in logistical process optimization and specialized workforce. In other words, a very positive perspective for the coming years.

Digitization as the way forward

We ended the previous topic talking about technology, and we cannot project any future for the industry without going through this subject.

Demir greatly reinforces the changes made in recent years in operational efficiency, but making it clear that there is still much to be done. “The time it takes to operate several containers simultaneously can still be optimized in Brazil.”

And this is being done mainly with the digitalization of the entire logistics chain of the modal – in the preparation of the cargo still at the origin, on the route to the port terminal, primarily in the handling within the port and also on the way to the destination.

An example of digitalization that has been driving growth is the simplification of bureaucratic processes, an effort by both the responsible public agencies and the companies operating in the sector.

An example of this is Wilson Sons itself, which invests heavily in technology with management and operation integrator systems.

According to Demir, several stages, such as inspections and dispatches, which required the physical presence of the person responsible for the cargo, are being replaced by more efficient digital models.

“Our goal is that all bureaucratic tasks (scheduling, docs delivery, etc.) are readily available in the service portal. The client who works with us has the possibility to go to the terminal only if he wants to. And if they do, they will be very welcome!

Combining the potential of infrastructure and demand with the potential of digitalization, what we see for the coming years is a sharp growth in operating capacity in Brazilian ports.

And not only does the operation increase, but these technologies help speed up port processes and, in some cases, making the final freight cheaper. It is a future of efficiency, with intelligent ports that need less to do more.

Lessons of the pandemic that remain for the future

Moments of crisis, regardless of their origins, always leave important lessons for the market. And few have been as complex, extensive, and challenging as those of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020 and 2021, we experienced a sudden major impact on operational routines, followed by a necessary adaptation to a new reality. Now that we are finally getting over this period, we need to look positively to the future, but without forgetting what the period has taught us.

In business terms, what we can say is that all growth in a basic sector such as logistics must be based on intelligent strategies that are prepared to deal with similar moments in the future.

Demir comments on this transformation. “We were pushed into a very fast digitalization process from the beginning of the pandemic. We slept in one reality and woke up in a totally different reality.”

But again, technology proves to be an answer. What allowed all companies in the chain, from the producer to the port terminal, to grow even during the pandemic was the ability to use digital solutions to improve the communication and management of these processes.

In this sense, we can define quite clearly what will drive the future of maritime transport in Brazil: the growth of infrastructure based on technologies so that volume and efficiency grow at the same rate. And if you are thinking about being part of this future, the sector is ready to welcome your company.

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