SMALLER independent terminal operators are working to block Maersk and the Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), the world's two biggest shipping companies, from participating in privatisation of the Brazilian Port of Santos, reports Fort Lauderdale's Maritime Executive.
Santos currently handles 4.4 million TEU annually and the new terminal will play a key part in the planned growth to 7.9 million TEU by 2040.
At stake are the rights to one of the crown jewels in Brazil's portfolio, a nearly 150-acre site in Santos for a new container terminal Cais do Saboo, more commonly called STS10.
Maersk and MSC are joint venture partners in the Brasil Terminal Portuario in Santos and have interests in terminals in other ports around the country. Maersk and MSC already account for 60 per cent of the container volume that comes to Brazil.
Brazil has been systematically auctioning off port facilities around the country. The programme is designed to raise badly needed funds for the country while also supporting efforts to expand and modernise the ports.
The Santos Port Authority has been working to expand the capabilities of the port announcing in 2021 that they had completed efforts to significantly increase the size of containerships calling at the port from 9,000 to 14,000 TEU.
The government in March 2022 published the preliminary terms for the auction for STS10 despite efforts by the trade association representing the independent terminal operators to block the release of the prospectus.
They fear market concentration if the major shipping companies were to take over the operation of the terminal and possibly too much capacity that would also hurt the independent operators.
While the government refused to delay the process, they did include a restriction preventing the major carriers from joining together to bid for the terminal.
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