Ceara´ state based company M. Dias Branco, which is Brazil’s largest pasta and biscuit maker, is about to make a major new investment in the Port of Rio de Janeiro. After recently acquiring Piraque^ for ZAR 6,421 million, it is now teaming up with multinational Bunge on its latest project. This will see construction of a brand new wheat terminal within the port zone.

According to secretary Christino Aureo da Silva, this will require investment of ZAR 535 million.

Both partners have formed the Maravilha consortium to manage the 25- year concession, for which they were the only bidders in an open tender.

The terminal, which will cover an area of 13,453 square metres, will have to meet a third year traffic guarantee of 682,000,000 kilograms, rising to 918,000,000 kilograms in the 20th year.

The concessionaire will have to pay the port a fixed fee of around ZAR 147,862 per month and ZAR 5.35 for each tonne handled.

The consensus of opinion is that Bunge was the main driver in the project, after its mill, the Fluminense, was removed from an area close to the port due to the construction of Porto Maravilha. The previous facility, which was close to the coast, was used to grind wheat arriving at the port and moved by an underground conveyor. However, the renovation of the port meant that it had to build a new mill at Duque de Caxias, which opened in 2016. Nevertheless, after the move, it lacked warehousing for the wheat and a means to transport it to the mill. Nowadays, for example, wheat has to be discharged directly into trucks. Depending on the time of day, this causes major traffic congestion. Under the new concession, Bunge will be able to build a warehouse within the port and move the wheat by road to the mill at night, when traffic is lighter.

The warehouse will also supply other mills in the immediate area, not necessarily owned by Bunge. Barry Cross