Key Brazilian Bridge Collapses

Alan Barrett

Alan Barrett

Higby Barrett LLC

A portion of a bridge over the Moju River in the state of Para, Brazil collapsed in early April when it was hit by a tank barge. Agribusiness consultant Kory Melby says 10 or 20 percent of soybeans grown in Brazil’s center west are delivered by road to those ports and “it will probably take years for that bridge to be rebuilt.” The bridge collapse comes on the heels of Highway BR-163 being closed for two weeks in March. The northern arc of ports were responsible for 28 percent of Brazil’s soybean and corn exports in 2018 according to the National Agency for Water Transport (Antaq).

All the ports on the Amazon are said to be operating normally. The bridge collapse will impact the movement of soybeans from the interior of the state of Para with approximately 300,000 hectares of soybeans. Farmers in the state will have to take a longer route to a port. The bottom line is the extra cost will be borne by the farmer. The table below demonstrates how expensive it is to deliver soybeans to port in Brazil. For the health of the U.S. farmer, this example demonstrates the importance of the work of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and other farm organizations to educate the public about the need to maintain and continuously improve the U.S. transportation system.

Source: ESALQ/USP (University of São Paulo, Brazil) and USDA/AMS