Despite the pandemic, APM Terminals Pecém, in Ceará, has set two consecutive records this year with a best-ever September performance of 41,000 TEUs followed by a record-breaking October result of 46,705 TEUs. For the first 10 months, the Pecém Terminal reports 309,051 TEUs, a 7.9% increase on 2019.
In the south of Brazil, APM Terminals Itajaí’s volumes grew by double digits in 2020, maintaining the pattern of the last three years. Until October, the terminal had moved more than 457,000 TEUs, up 13.4% versus 403,000 over the same period the previous year. The Terminal is forecast to beat the million mark by December. Just like “brother” terminal Pecém, Itajaí had its historically busiest month in October with 53,000 TEUs. Growth has exceeded 200% on an accumulated basis between 2017 and 2020.
The strategic location of the port within the supply chain for shipping lines and end clients is among the key drivers behind growth in the Northeast. Other factors include bigger ships with larger load capacity, a weaker Real, the economic recovery ahead of special dates including Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve events and the efficient operations offered by the terminals.
Volumes have been supported by important advances at APM Terminals Pecém which have enabled the arrival of larger ships, for example. In August, the terminal received the 330m long, 48.2m beam MSC Shuba B, the biggest ship to ever berth in the state. This giant also marked the start of the fruit harvest in Ceará.
Pecém Port also inaugurated berth 10, which increased the terminal’s operational capacity. “To see the cranes running along the tracks was a milestone for APM Terminals Pecém. At 300m long, the new berth positions Pecém among a small select group of ports in Latin America capable of receiving New Panamax vessels with draughts of up to 15.3m. The new berth also optimizes our window docking system, reducing waiting times at anchor,” says Daniel Rose, Managing Director of APM Terminals Pecém.
Consequently, the 2020 recovery was bigger than expected, according to APM Terminals Pecém Commercial Director André Magalhães. “We did not expect such a strong and fast recovery at the start of the third quarter. Cabotage, with its six regular lines to Pecém, has strongly resisted the COVID-19 impact, consolidating itself as a logistics solution for the region,” he says.
Magalhães adds that the numbers were also boosted by the key fruit harvest, with melons, watermelons, grapes and mangoes from the São Francisco valley destined for US and European markets. “This year, we started with 17% exports growth in mangoes to the US and APM Terminals handled practically 70% of the whole São Francisco valley market. In terms of melons, we moved 100% of the volumes this year thanks to bigger ships and a bigger commitment from shipping lines with local clients, avoiding any port call cancellations.”
Reefer exports also saw a 70% jump in volumes compared to the same period a year ago, with 16,800 TEUs moved versus 9,900 the year before.
Rise in imports
In Itajaí, frozen goods exports and a comeback in imports in the second half drove the terminals rapid growth. Of Brazil’s 10 biggest ports, APM Terminals was the only one to see imports growth up to August of this year, according to Datamar statistics
In terms of export, APM Terminals Itajaí was among four of the 10 biggest terminals that saw an increase, registering the largest growth of 21% up to August, according to Datamar.
Talking about the drivers behind this growth, APM Terminals Itajaí Managing Director, Aristides Russi Júnior says: “We can cite many reasons, including the weaker Real, strong industry especially in exports. Our terminal also saw a significant increase in its market share among the ports of Santa Catarina, which shows that APM Terminals is consolidating in the region despite strong competition in the state.”
Expanded product offering
Commercial director at APM Terminals Itajaí Daniel Belisário highlights that new services offered by the terminal have been welcomed by clients. “Our team has developed new products to grow our sources of revenue. Offering true value-added services to our landside customers helps optimize their supply chain and diversify our product portfolio.”
In terms of infrastructure, Itajaí inaugurated its larger turning basin in 2020. With the new basin, the terminal can now receive ships of up to 350m with a 48m beam. On top of this, APM Terminals Itajaí invested more than 2 million euro in reach stackers in the second half of last year, improving operational capacity.