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Arab container flow to Brazil is underused

After Brazilian exports are shipped to the Arab countries, the reverse flow of containers has not been well used, pointed out Jean Stoll (pictured above) , global director of protein and dairy products at A.P. Moller-Maersk. The executive participated in the webinar ‘Logistics and transport between Brazil and Arab Countries: Opportunities, challenges and the role of the Suez Canal maritime route’ this Tuesday (6). The event was hosted by the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC).

For Stoll, especially when it comes to refrigerated containers, also known as ‘reefers,’ the logistics back to Brazil leaves room for imports at reduced costs.“What we ship to the Middle East, adding Brazil and Argentina, are around 1,300 40-foot reefer containers per week, carrying poultry and beef,” he detailed. Solely in A.P. Moller-Maersk’s case, the director states that shipments average 90 containers per week, and of this total, only 7% return full. Among the products that return, there are sardines from Oman and Morocco, for example.

Maartje Driessens spoke about the Açu Port

To increase the flow of foreign products, domestic terminals are essential.“We function as a port authority, and all partners have many types of exports. We are a gateway to states such as Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, and Espírito Santo,” said Maartje Driessens, general manager of Strategic Partnerships of the Açu Port.

In improving this Brazilian infrastructure, which is upgrading to receive more imported products, there are opportunities for the Arabs themselves. Observes Cornelis Hulst, vice president of Operations of the Pecém Port, which receives government and private investment.“Obviously, the goal is to attract large industries to produce with us, but this requires fast services, maintenance, information technology, and these are all opportunities for Arab countries that already have experience investing in companies that do this. We are not just talking about trade and goods, but expertise trade,” said Hulst .

“I see an absolute possibility of transforming these two ports into hubs for Arab and affiliated products,” pointed out the secretary-general of the ABCC, Tamer Mansour, who moderated the technology session.

Fabian Lavaselli, Supply Chain executive and sales director of Norsul Shipping Company, agrees with Brazil’s great opportunities.“We noticed that in the North region there was development. Any grain [that we think of], Brazil is in the top 5 [in production], and we have better logistics conditions now, connecting the output from the North to the Brazilian coast,” he said.

Still, regarding logistics challenges, Medhat Elkady, president of the Egyptian International Freight Forwarding Association (EIFFA), recalls that technological investment will be essential.“We have as challenges some delay in the digitalization of a few partners and operators,” he stated.

Integration of value chains

In the webinar session on integrating global value chains with the Arab countries, one of the speakers was Marcus Vinícius Pillon, the Business Intelligence manager of the ABCC. He stressed that one of the main logistical issues is the time that ships spend between Brazil and the Arab countries, which is, on average, 49 days.“Maritime transport ends up being a problem for sectors that have products with a shorter shelf life, such as fruits,” he pondered.

Some concepts addressed by Orlando Cattini Junior, coordinator of the Center of Excellence in Supply Chain and Logistics at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo (FGVcelog), help to overcome the high cost of transport. One of them is the value chain.“In the value chain, companies realized there were advantages in breaking up operations, from raw material to consumption, in numerous regions or countries. This reduces costs and takes advantage of technical expertise from several parties,” he explained.

Making the regional organization more efficient is also a determining factor for Sara Hassan Kamal Elgazzar, dean of the College of International Transport & Logistics (CITLC) of the Arab Academy for Science Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT). Elgazzar noted that trade between Brazil and the Arabs is not yet at its peak.“There is growth potential, but how to accelerate this? Improve integration between the two parties? The transfer of technology could help with that and build greater trust in the relationship,” she said, noting that operations that take advantage of free trade zones such as the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) can reduce time and costs.

Moderating the debate, Qaisar Hijazin, secretary-general of the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC), reinforced the Canal’s importance.“It is strategic, since 10% of the products that travel around the world by sea pass through the Suez Canal,” he concluded.

The event was also attended by the vice president of the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL), Alaa Hamieh, the assistant executive secretary of the Brazilian Ministry of Infrastructure, Felipe Fernandes Queiroz, and the port counselor of the General Authority for the SCZone, Mohamed Abdelaziz.

The seminar’s opening was made by ambassador Osmar Chohfi, president of the ABCC; Khaled Hanafy, secretary-general of the Union of Arab Chambers (UAC); and Adel Abou Rejeili, president of the Brazil-Lebanon Chamber of Commerce (CCBL) in Rio de Janeiro. The Foreign Trade vice president of the ABCC, Ruy Cury, closed the event.
Source: Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA)

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