Brazil's Santos port speeds coffee, cargo loading|
Reuters, Wednesday, September 02, 1998 at 13:54
SAO PAULO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Shipping operations at
Brazil's key port of Santos gathered momentum on Wednesday as
exporters shook off delays caused by a series of union strikes
and work-slowdowns in August.
Officials at the Santos port authority (CODESP) said
shipping agents had trimmed their container backlog to just
2,965 containers by Wednesday from roughly 10,000 on Friday.
"Things here are definitely getting better," a CODESP
spokeswoman said. "But we will need at least five more days
like this to get things back to normal."
But worker unrest may rear its head again next week,
shipping agents warn. Customs employees, who crippled Santos
for nearly two weeks with strikes and go-slows, may again
decide to work-to-rule next week over an ongoing pay dispute.
A customs union spokesman said a meeting had been
tentatively slated for Friday to discuss future industrial
action. "It really depends on what we get accomplished this
week," the spokesman said, referring to salary negotiations
with federal authorities.
Coffee shipments, which had been severely hampered by
August's worker unrest, were also picking up speed, according
to the Commercial Association of Santos.
Renaldo Braga, the Association's administrator, said
although data was still being compiled, some 300,000 bags meant
to be shipped in August would soon be cleared out of Santos
He said a total of 716,266 bags had been shipped by August
31 out of Santos, which is Latin America's busiest port and
accounts for roughly 70 percent of Brazil's coffee exports.
The Brazilian Federation of Coffee Exporters (Febec) said on
Tuesday Brazil's total August exports should reach between 1.5
and 1.7 million 60-kg bags.
Febec's figure compares with an export figure of 1.07
million bags shipped out of all of Brazil's ports by August 31,
according to the Commercial Association of Santos.
Braga said the Association had expected total exports of
1.6 million bags.
Copyright 1998, Reuters News Service