A shortage of refrigerated containers is causing a build up of fruit and other perishable products at Brazilian ports according to a report in ShippingWatch.
It says carriers including Maersk, MSC and Hamburg Süd have relocated containers other ports in the region where rates are higher. The most severe shortage is in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, home to some of the country’s biggest fruit producers.
Warehouses at the Port of Santos is São Paulo meanwhile are reported to be at full capacity.
“The situation is very severe in many places, with filled warehouses and where companies offering tempered storage of frozen goods such as pork and beef, chicken, fish, juice, fruit, and other items can no longer accept any more goods,” a source told ShippingWatch.
“We’re also seeing examples of meat producers having to reduce their production as there are no more storage facilities and containers available.”
The source said the shortage of containers was causing losses to the whole supply chain and seriously harming the Brazilian economy.
A wave of consolidation among the major carriers has reduced the service options for exporters. At the same time, Brazil’s two biggest food companies, JBS and BRF, which together make up almost 50 per cent of the country’s reefer cargo volumes, have been so successful in negotiating rates down that carriers have moved to more profitable countries in the region like Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Costa Rica.
Analyst Leandro Carelli Barreto from Solve Shipping told ShippingWatch: “It usually happens every year at the same period when ship owners, willing to maximise the profitability of their assets, in this case, their container's fleet, move their equipment to transport huge amounts of fruits in regions where exporters do not have the same volume/regularity and, consequently, the same bargaining power, as Brazilian's meat exporters”.