Flooding again led to the closure of the Itajaí port complex during September
The flooding was the worst in the state of Santa Catarina, in southern Brazil since November 2008, which forced the port to close for weeks. [13 days, actually – Alexandre]
A thorough survey to find out the full extent of the latest damage to the APM Terminals Itajaí facility is still continuing.
The closure, and longer term damage to one of the APMT berths, has jeopardised the chances of Brazil’s second largest port complex for containers breaking the 1M TEU per annum barrier by the end of this year, according to Robert Grantham, the commercial director for Itajaí port authority (API).
Grantham told WorldCargo News: “We had a fantastic July and August, with 96,000 TEU and 91,000 TEU handled respectively, but then came the closure. At the same time we found the depression in the APMTI pier [Berth 1] and now that will be closed for some time. It could have been much worse if not for the dredging recently carried out.”
APMTI (formerly known as Teconvi) suffered the most damage from an abrasive river that was flowing at between 7 and 10 knots, very much faster than the normal 0.5 knots. However, because the river had just been dredged down from 11m down to 13m, catastrophic flooding of the port, as in 2008, was prevented.
Walter Joos, the managing director for APMTI, which has lost the use of much of its back yard as well as Berth 1, said that assessments of damage to Berth 1 should be completed by the end of October. APMTI can still use Berths 2 and 3 and is hoping that the PAI will release Berth 4 as well.
He said: “We are suffering quite a bit because of this, and having to pick up some extra bills. But we are open and back in business. Also the dredgers are back in the port and the Minister of Ports has offered assistance, so let’s wait and see what happens.”
On the other side of the River Itajaí-Açu is the MSC-backed Portonave terminal and this escaped without any damage, although it was also closed to all traffic for one week, as Itajaí pilots closed the entrance to the port complex. [In Brazil, pilots are not allowed to close port entrances. That is a harbormaster’s decision — Alexandre]