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Cablegate: Santos Port Infrastructure Investment: Where Is the Money?

VZCZCXRO9512
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHSO #0598/01 1921433
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111433Z JUL 07
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7211
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 8317
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 2832
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 2383
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 2798
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 2089
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 3407
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 3672
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 8198
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 3054
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SAO PAULO 000598

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR SCRONIN
STATE PASS EXIMBANK
STATE PASS OPIC FOR MORONESE, RIVERA, MERVENNE
NSC FOR TOMASULO
USDOC FOR 4332/ITA/MAC/OLAC
USDOC FOR 3134/USFCS/OIO
TREASURY FOR JHOEK
AID/W FOR LAC/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV EFIN ETRD BEXP EWWT BR
SUBJECT: SANTOS PORT INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT: WHERE IS THE MONEY?


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Summary: Econoff and Econ FSN visited the Port of Santos
recently to follow up on several news stories relating major
infrastructure investment. Interviews with municipal and GoB Port
Authority (CODESP) officials revealed that there are several
privately-funded projects under way, and planned projects to be
funded by the Lula administration's Growth Acceleration Program
(PAC), but that most major investment initiatives are still in the
planning stage and have yet received funding or begun to be
implemented. End Summary.

PORT OF SANTOS: THE CURRENT STATUS
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) The Port of Santos is located 60 kilometers southwest of
Sao Paulo across the Serra do Mar mountain range. Santos serves the
industrial and agricultural trade needs of the state of Sao Paulo
and neighboring states of Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, and
Parana, as well as states further inland like Mato Grosso, Goias,
and Rondonia. It is the largest port by volume in South America,
annually moving more than 25 percent of the value of goods traded by
Brazil on international markets. The Port of Santos was responsible
for 29 percent of total Brazilian export shipments in 2006.
Similarly, 28 percent of imports entered through Santos. Santos
also serves as a major port for transit of products to Paraguay,
Bolivia and Chile. According to Fabio Ferraro Oliari, Special
Assistant to the President of CODESP, the federally-operated Sao
Paulo State Docks Company will see approximately 82 million tons of
cargo transiting through the port in 10,500 vessels in 2007. The
port area has 7.7 million square meters of space (480,000 in
warehousing) along 13 kilometers of wharves, and can berth up to 64
ships at a time in 55 CODESP and 9 private terminals.

3. (SBU) Santos has been plagued with three major problems
hindering its expansion and capability to handle more activity: 1)
limited capacity to access the port via the road, rail, and barge
systems; 2) its shallow ship channel prevents larger ships from
entering some berths; and 3) insufficient number of berths. With
the introduction of the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) and the
creation of a new Ministry of Ports, there is expected to be greater
focus on and more attention to port infrastructure development with
the necessary allocation of funds. The PAC is expected to provide
investments of USD 1.4 billion for development of 12 Brazilian ports
by 2010, and a portion of this could realistically address some of
Santos' needs.

A VIEW FROM THE MAYOR'S OFFICE
------------------------------

4. (SBU) In a conversation with Maria Luiza Justo Nascimento,
International Relations Advisor in the office of Mayor Joao Tavares
Papa, Econoff learned that the federal, state, and city projects
planned for the expansion and improvement of the port are still in
the planning phase, and to this date have not received any specific
funds. The expansion of the downtown port marina complex is still
very much on the agenda, and the city is waiting for funds to be
approved. The major holdup is that the land and the eight former
port warehouses, currently abandoned, are owned by the Federal
Government, which must deed this property to the city before any
substantial movement in the project can occur. The city envisions
this complex to incorporate a new marina for tourists arriving via
ships, restaurants, commercial port establishments, a port research
and training center (based on a similar school in Antwerp), and
commercial businesses. The influx of jobs and tourism could be a
major boom for the city.


SAO PAULO 00000598 002 OF 003


5. (SBU) On the private sector side, Nascimento indicated that
Petrobras is expanding its operations in Santos to develop the
extensive natural gas reserves recently discovered in the Santos
basin. In a subsequent discussion, Fabio Oliari of CODESP stated
that Petrobras will develop platforms capable of tripling the amount
of gas currently extracted in Brazil and transforming Santos into
one of the country's most important natural gas extraction centers.
The most recent major private investment in the city, which will
positively affect the port area and the economy of the city, is the
announcement by Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping do Brasil
Ltda (MSC) of plans to build a new office complex in Santos.
According to Nascimento, MSC is currently the second largest
container transport company in the world and already employs 250
people in Brazil. A 50-percent increase in the company's work force
is expected upon the completion of the new office in approximately
18 months.

CODESP: PLANNED INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
----------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Fabio Farraro Oliari, Special Assistant to the President
of CODESP, agreed with Nascimento. Up to now, there has been no
allocation of funds from the PAC to the port of Santos, and all
projects are still in the planning stage. Projects that are moving
forward are those being developed by private companies. Oliari
explained that a change in the President and Board of Administrators
of CODESP has put all government-sponsored projects on hold. He
characterized it as a political move related to the Lula
administration's recent creation of a new Ministry of Ports. Oliari
expects some progress on the allocation of funds for the port
development projects as soon as the new members of the board are
announced. On the positive front, he stated that Santos presently
accounts for 40 percent of container traffic, occupying now 39th
place in world rankings, up from 61st place in 2001. The port of
Santos is now Brazil's most important port for soy shipments,
surpassing the port of Paranagua.

7. (SBU) Oliari highlighted five major investment projects
currently underway or in the planning phase: 1) deepening of the
canal to approximately 17 meters of depth, expected to begin in
2008-09 after the environmental license is approved; 2) the
Barnabe-Bagres project (approximately USD 680 million), which will
double the capacity of the port of Santos, presently undergoing an
environmental study, with construction projected to begin in 6-7
years; 3) relocation of inhabitants of two slum areas located on
future port terminal areas, approved for PAC funding; 4) Embraport
Terminal, a private investment project for a large multi-modal port
terminal complex, already licensed, currently under construction and
to be completed this year; and 5) the Dry Bulk Terminal Project,
which will use land ceded by the federal government to the private
sector and will be jointly funded by the municipal government,
CODESP, and private investors (USD 200 million); this project will
provide containers for soy meal, fertilizer, and alcohol, to name a
few products.

CHANGING PORT PROCEDURES TO ENCOURAGE INVESTMENT
--------------------------------------------- ---

8. (SBU) In an effort to improve the success of the current
dredging project at Santos and encourage private investment, the new
Minister of Ports, Pedro Brito, has announced a change in procedures
for the dredging project. (Santos has an ongoing dredging operation
which maintains the waterways open for port traffic.) Rather than
keeping the current contract, which basically grants three companies
exclusive rights to operate the dredging project, Brito has proposed
that the concession be opened internationally to bidders, and
contracts be given for a period of five years, renewable depending
on the quality of the work delivered. With this move, Brito expects
to take the project out of the hands of the three Brazilian
companies currently dredging, Bandeirantes, Dragaport and Enterpa.
According to "Folha de Sao Paulo", Brito reportedly said that these

SAO PAULO 00000598 003 OF 003


three companies represented "an oligarchy that does not permit
competitive prices, nor efficiency, nor modern equipment" in the
process.

-------
COMMENT
-------

9. (SBU) With the federal PAC program, which specifically targets
port projects, there was hope that necessary port improvements at
Santos would soon be underway. However, the ongoing uncertainty
about levels and allocations of PAC funding and the impending
changes in CODESP's leadership make it difficult to predict when
those projects will be implemented. These difficulties are
unfortunately typical of the problems surrounding many of the GoB's
efforts to invest in necessary infrastructure. In an attempt to
bypass the federal bureaucratic morass, Sao Paulo Governor Jose
Serra recently proposed that the GoB transfer the port's
administrative functions to the state government in order to
harmonize port projects with other state-sponsored infrastructure
development in the area, but the GoB declined. End Comment.

10. (U) This cable was coordinated with Embassy Brasilia.

HELLING

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