Port of Santos goal, becoming one of ten largest container ports, and definitively, no privatization under Lula
Recently appointed Brazilian Minister of Ports and Airports, Márcio França, said that his goal is to make the Port of Santos one of the ten largest ports in terms of container movement in the world. The statement was made at a press conference after the ceremony in which he took office, in Brasília.
França also reiterated that the port authorities, federal and state companies that manage the country’s ports, such as the Santos Port Authority (SPA), will not be privatized under the current Government. But “there is no problem with privatizing the terminals.”
“Seven of the ten largest ports in the world today are in China,” the minister said. They are all managed by public port authorities. So it is not true that their efficiency is undermined because they are public. We must learn to work with what is public and efficient.”
This list of port complexes is part of Lloyd’s List, One Hundred Ports 2022, and refers to the 100 largest ports in the world in container movement, based on data from 2021. The Port of Santos came in the 41st position. “We want to place Santos among the top ten in the world,” commented França
The survey indicates that, in 2021, Santos had a throughput of 4.831 million TEU. The highest-ranking port, Shanghai, China, had a throughput of 47.030 million TEU that year. The tenth place on the list, the Port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, appeared on Lloyd’s List with 15.3 million TEU.
Minister França reiterated that “we are not going to privatize the port authority,” as President Lula da Silva determined. “This is the vision that won the election, and we’re going to respect that,” he said. França himself had already ruled out privatization on the 22nd when its name was confirmed as head of the new ministry.
The issue was raised at his inauguration ceremony by the president of the National Federation of Port Workers (FNP), Eduardo Guterra. He mentioned the presidential directive signed on Sunday, inauguration day, in which eight public companies were taken from the Presidency’s Investment Partnerships (PPI) and National Privatization (PND) programs. The public port authorities did not make it to the list.
At the press conference, França said he supports “a threefold format with municipalities, state, and Federal governments sharing the command of ports. And nothing stands in the way of having a fourth component to this chain of command representing private interests. But full-on privatization, with the entire Port Authority structure passing on to the hands of private parties … will not happen.”