London: The Brazilian government plans to allow private companies to lease 29 state-owned terminals at ports across the country, including Santos and in the northern state of Pará.
Ports minister Edinho Araújo told Reuters the plan could attract up to BR4.9bn ($1.6bn) of private investment and increase port capacity by 47m tons.
The move comes in response to federal budget cuts announced on Friday that will curb public investment.
The leasing programme, however, is currently blocked by Brazil’s federal accountability office, the Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU).
The government is meeting with potential investors while it waits for the TCU’s approval, Araujo told the newswire. A public hearing on concessions will be held early next month.
Already, investors from China and Europe have expressed an interest in financing a BR16bn ($5.1bn) port and rail project for mineral and agricultural product exports from Pará to the coastal city of Colares, reports say.The port investment alone is worth BR6bn ($1.91bn).
The 29 terminals to be leased, however, are a vast reduction on the 159 facilities that were mooted by Araújo’s predecessor in 2014.
Brazil has seen huge increases in its exports in recent years that are outpacing its port capacity. Oil seed was Brazil’s fastest growing export in 2014; export volumes have grown by 110.3% since 2010. Exports of cereals have grown by 70.7% over the same period.