Key Brazilian Bridge Collapses

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
Alan Barrett
Alan Barrett

Director of Consulting

Doane Advisory Services

Alan Barrett is Doane’s project consultant and accomplished commodity economist with more than 25 years of experience in futures and cash markets with a focus on cotton, commodity projects, non-traditional agricultural products, transportation and supply chain studies. Alan spent six years as a commodity futures broker. His expertise encompasses feasibility studies of oilseed crushing plants (soybean canola, and cottonseed), grain elevators, export elevators, shuttle elevators, grain container operations, flourmills and other processing facilities. Alan also has conducted transportation supply chain studies for grains, oilseeds, fertilizer, coal, natural gas, crude oil, and petroleum products. Alan has considerable experience in non-traditional agricultural products such as coal, coke, natural gas, chemicals, hydraulic fracturing fluid, hydraulic fracturing proppants, glycerin, fertilizer, micronutrients, salt, limestone, cement, iron ore, pig iron, and steel, especially feed ingredients. Mr. Barrett has a BS and MS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Tennessee.