Port of Santos


Although Santos is the largest container port in Latin America, it ranks only 42nd on the JOC list of Top 50 Container ports (using 2017 data). More than 40 percent of Brazil’s containers are handled by the Port of Santos, as well as about one-third its of trade, including its vast hinterland that includes the state of Paraná, and 60 percent of Brazil’s GDP. For those reasons, efficient Santos is crucial to the success of companies affiliated to Fiesp and also the Confederation of National Industries of Brazil.

Brazil's largest container port has opened several new terminals in the last few years. Growth resumed in 2017 after a contraction in 2016 due to the worst recession in the country's history. In 2018 Brazil’s busiest container port handled 4.3 million TEUs, compared with 3.85 million TEUs in 2017.

Shippers and ocean carriers using Santos have been complaining about congestion and labor disputes at the port, and about the politicization and the time-consuming bureaucracy of the Port Authority for Santos, known as CODESP (Companhia Docas do Estado do São Paulo). Many argue “regionalization” might help solve problems, including a lack of dredging to issues such as improved/expanded infrastructure.

Various business groups including the Federation of Industries for the state of São Paulo (Fiesp), the most powerful shipper group in Brazil, back the effort to privatize port management, aiming to cut inefficiencies and alleged corruption. 

In an effort to boost such efforts at modernizing Santos, Brazil’s President-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, is putting together a government team and declaring various policy goals and options, including the privatization of all the port authorities.

27 Jun 2022
Northbound capacity from Brazil to the US is tight due to ongoing strength in US imports, a reality that has boosted freight rates and is likely to continue until at least the fourth quarter of 2022.
28 Jun 2021
Refrigerated containers have become so scarce on the north–south North America–Latin America trade that shippers are signing guaranteed volume contracts with carriers, who in some cases are canceling spot cargo bookings because they cannot provide the equipment.
16 Sep 2019
Brazilian cotton exports to China are booming amid the US-China trade war, but stakeholders say the boost is highlighting carrier capacity shortages and sub-par infrastructure in the South American country.
Top 50 Global Container Ports 2018
09 Aug 2019
Asian gateways continued to dominate the global port market in 2018, handling more than three-quarters of the total throughput of the top 50 container ports worldwide.
15 Jul 2019
The new CEO of the Santos port authority has ambitious plans for South America’s largest container port, including building closer ties to China.
27 Jun 2019
The uneasy labor truce between workers at the Brazilian port of Santos and port authority Codesp will extend at least through July.
29 May 2019
Santos workers and management will keep talking in a bid to reach a new labor deal, though the union still set June 30 as the next strike deadline.
28 May 2019
More than 1,000 workers are due to walk off the job in a protest that is more broadly about the potential privatization of the Santos port authority.
15 Apr 2019
A bankruptcy judge has told Grupo Libra it must maintain service and continue paying staff at its T-35 and T-37 terminals in Brazil’s port of Santos through May 2020.
29 Mar 2019
Grupo Libra is shuttering its port of Santos subsidiary, operator of the T-35 and T-34 terminals, due to mounting debt and the defection of Cosco and CMA CGM loops to DP World Santos.
22 Mar 2019
Union officials are hoping port operators return to the negotiating table, but with little disruption resulting from the strike, it’s unlikely employers will be open to negotiation.
13 Mar 2019
Sources tell JOC.com the strike might be the “final hurrah” for the OGMO dockworker labor pool at Santos, as terminal operators prepare for life without the freelance laborers despite the strike's apparent impact on productivity.
05 Mar 2019
As a strike by freelance longshoremen continues, terminal operators at Brazil's busiest container port fear a repeat of last August, when dockworkers invaded a CMA CGM vessel.
01 Mar 2019
Dockworkers from the OGMO freelance labor pool in Brazil’s busiest container port are protesting the elimination of regulations mandating at least 25 percent of longshore work be performed by OGMO members.
DP World Santos.
08 Jan 2019
Shippers are concerned that they will pay for service consolidation.
Maersk containers, vessel at port of Paranagua.
20 Dec 2018
After a damaging truck strike, holiday trade gains are expected to be sub-par — although it is historically a time of demand growth.
Brazil truckers on strike - May 2018.
10 Dec 2018
Over the weekend, drivers protested at Alemoa, in front of the main road access to the port of Santos, and closed the main highway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro for six hours, backing up truck traffic more than two kilometers (1.24 miles).
Port of Santos, Brazil.
12 Nov 2018
What privatization should look like in Brazil and how it should begin is still being debated, however.
Port of Santos with a ship approaching.
23 Sep 2018
Brazil’s weaker currency, an expanding global economy, and enduring international customers should bode well for the port of Santos. But shippers say inefficiency and a lack of renovation are delaying that. Now, a number of shippers’ groups want a different form of port management.
Port of Santos.
03 Aug 2018
An invaded ship is the latest job action by dockworkers at the port of Santos. They say they extend their existing three-day job action that ends Saturday if Brazil’s government does not agree to their pay/pension demands.
Port of Santos.
31 Jul 2018
Just when conditions started to return to normal for shippers who use Santos, stevedores Wednesday will implement a three-day strike aimed at securing an agreed-to pay increase.
19 Jul 2018
A deal between the port of Santos and pilots will allow more cargo to enter the port and provide carriers with more operational flexibility.
Port of Santos.
05 Jul 2018
The suspension decision was implemented after delegates from the National Sindifisco and a politician close to Brazilian President Michel Temer reached an agreement.
A container ship in Brazil.
08 Jun 2018
The Temer administration’s deal to end the truckers’ strike included minimum freight rates that some shippers argue favored truckers too much.
Brazil truckers on strike - May 2018.
23 May 2018
Truckers and others are striking because Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company, has gradually increased diesel prices — by more than 40 percent — over six months, at the same time that the Temer administration has substantially hiked fuel taxes.
Port of Santos.
18 May 2018
One shipping agent based in Santos, who represents a European carrier, said that the Port of Santos has been in “chaotic turmoil for most of this year,” but this week had been “the worst.”
The Port of Santos.
27 Apr 2018
The union has increased it's "all-day strikes" from one day to three days per week, and as a result, up to 4,000 containers are delayed daily, some for up to 21 days.
Grupo Libra T-35 Terminal.
24 Apr 2018
The end of Grupo Libra operations at the Port of Santos would cause problems for shippers, freight forwarders, and non-vessel operating common carriers, as it would reduce their options and could lead to a rise in terminal handling charges, as well as fewer deepsea services.
Port of Santos.
28 Mar 2018
Shippers are benefiting from a new Contrail intermodal terminal and railroad service from the São Paulo hinterland to the key Brazilian Port of Santos. The Jundiaí Intermodal Terminal is strategically located and has opened at an opportune time — as Brazil’s container volumes rise with the strengthening regional and global economies.
Brazil Intermodal South America Trade Show 2018
14 Mar 2018
From the first day of Brazil's Intermodal South America Trade Show 2018, it was clear that port, railroad, and airport privatizations were back on the agenda.
18 Jan 2018
CMA CGM is strengthening its presence on the east coast of South America.
08 Jan 2018
The news is welcome by Santos port shippers and carriers because their costs have been substantially above the Brazilian national and international averages in recent years.
21 Nov 2017
Strike action by the Receita Federal (customs) in Brazil has intensified as it enters its fourth week and is now causing severe delays.
03 Nov 2017
Receita Federal (customs) officers in the port of Santos are escalating their slowdowns and strikes that began last week.
25 Oct 2017
“The Receita Federal is intent on pushing the pedal of pain down this week.”
24 Oct 2017
The United States is the largest market for Brazilian coffee exports.