"By the first quarter of 2020, we want to have options for private investment. In addition, the Port of Santos aims to list on the stock market within the next five years. The idea is to continue to be a public company, but with a strong integration of private investors."
Can you provide an overview of the Port of Santos and its significance to the Brazilian economy?
The Port of Santos is the largest port in Latin America, and under the guidance of a great management team, our aim is to make this port the best in the region as well. The Port of Santos is linked to Brazil’s infrastructure and logistics network in such a way that cannot be achieved by any other ports in Brazil or Latin America. Inside the port, there are massive railroads that connect the port to the center of the country, as well as excellent road access and pipelines connecting to refineries across the country. We also have a hydraulic power plant inside the port.
The area of influence of the Port of Santos is responsible for approximately 67% of the Brazilian GDP and is comprised of five states: Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Goiás. We have recently initiated a new strategy to attract investment from not only Brazilian investors, but also international investors for the port’s huge package of concessions. The current focus is on four main concessions that we want private companies to invest in and manage. The Port of Santos wants to focus its attention on being a port authority involved in setting up and implementing strategies, rather than managing concessions and infrastructures.
How important is the petrochemical industry to the overall makeup of the Port of Santos?
The Port of Santos is located near many industries that are the consumers of chemicals. The port also plays a significant role in these industries being able to reach their clients. Our petrochemical client base is not the biggest portfolio, but it plays a vital role as they form the connection with many industries in Sao Paulo.
What are the current focus areas of the Port of Santos’ newly defined strategy?
The new government is investing in and promoting a significant amount of options with regard to logistics development within the country, and the Port of Santos is completely aligned with the strategy and vision of our ministry. In April 2019, there will be a new bidding opportunity for a trench in the center of Brazil for the development of new railroads, and I believe that the government will continue to promote and develop initiatives such as these.
The Port of Santos also wants to offer private investors the opportunity to manage and control the infrastructures and concessions of the port. We want to focus our attention on regulatory legislation and let companies that have the necessary expertise handle the concessions. For example, implementing technologies to increase efficiency is not something that we will be looking to do in-house, but would rather partner with a private investor that has the knowledge and experience within the field.
The recent strike from the OGMO freelance labor pool ended briefly without interruption to port operations. How are situations like this managed?
Striking is a constitutional right in Brazil, and the Port of Santos will never stand in the way of this right. However, we do believe that the new management strategy offers workers the opportunity to voice their concerns and needs without having to strike. Our main concern is that we cannot stop operations at the port as we have clients and companies that depend on us as a port authority.
What would the Port of Santos like to achieve in the coming years?
The Port of Santos will present concessions to the market so that private companies and investors can analyze the opportunities. By the first quarter of 2020, we want to be at a stage where we have options for private investment. In addition, the Port of Santos aims to list on the stock market within the next five years. The idea is to continue to be a public company, but with a strong integration of private investors.
The Port of Santos is focused on being the best port in the Brazilian system. We have two chemical options going live in April 2019, and we are trying to attract more clients within the chemicals industry to our port - the most significant and important port in Latin America.