A tender was issued on 29 January this year to prepare projects and studies for the general cargo ports of Ártemis, Araçatuba, Rubinéia and Salto to be built on the Tietê-Paraná inland waterway. The point of building these new facilities is that they will attract new cargoes to the waterway network, as well as boosting the amount of products such as wood and cellulose, which first began using the waterway network in the first half of 2013.

Besides the basic projects and environmental studies, a market analysis and operational models will also be developed to find the best way to maximize cargo, looking, for example, as to how they can be integrated into the railway network, with both Ártemis and Salto close to existing lines.

The studies are expected to take nine months following the signing of a contract. Construction work and concessions will then be finalized in 2015, with investment in the Tietê-Paraná system to absorb $617 million.

The existing navigable network amounts to some 2,400km, of which 1,600km belongs to the Paraná River, connecting the five largest grain producing regions in the country: Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais and Paraná. In 2013, the current port network handled more than 6mt (million tonnes) of products such as soya, soya flour, wheat, cane sugar, oil, wood, coal and fertilizer. Traffic is expected to reach 14mt this year.