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Technological and sustainable development of national ports is on the agenda at Intermodal South America

Article-Technological and sustainable development of national ports is on the agenda at Intermodal South America

Technological and sustainable development of national ports is on the agenda at Intermodal South America.jpg
Facilities have been investing and looking towards the future. An alliance for decarbonization was signed during the event.

The second day of Intermodal South America 2024 highlighted the port sector. Auctions, infrastructure works, technology, and solutions for existing bottlenecks were some of the topics addressed by experts during the Interlog Summit and at the stands of port authorities.

Participating in the event, on the panel “Innovation in Brazilian ports: how to address the technological deficit of national ports?”, the President of the Santos Port Authority (APS), Anderson Pomini, highlighted that the Santos Port, especially due to its relevance, which accounts for 30% of the national production flow and has a daily flow of 80,000 people, remains behind compared to other ports in the country due to a lack of investments. “In the last four or five years there have been no investments in technology, which is essential for seeking greater efficiency.”

The panel also featured the deputy executive secretary of the Ministry of Ports and Airports, Gabriela Costa; the President of the Port of Rio Grande do Sul, Cristiano Klinger; and Eduardo Valença from Wilson Sons, who moderated the discussion.

Furthermore, the Santos Port Authority President mentioned that the biggest challenge for the Santos Port is currently having an infrastructure that aims at technology. Pomini emphasized, however, that some steps are being taken towards seeking more innovation, with an investment of R$130 million planned for the contracting of necessary technology services and to receive the VTMIS (Vessel Traffic Management Information System).

“Due to organized crime, we seek technological partnerships to assist the Brazil Federal Police and the Federal Revenue of Brazil (IRS) in combating drug trafficking. This effort will bring operational benefits to the port, for example, the use of underwater drones that, in addition to providing greater inspection on ship hulls, will assist in operations,” detailed Pomini.

He also highlighted the need to obtain tools that bring even more security to the technologies that will be implemented. “It has already been found, for example, that drones were used to carry drugs to specific vessels, which means we also have to acquire anti-drone technology, thus preventing the misuse of equipment that can be very helpful to us,” he concluded.

Rio de Janeiro growing

The president of Rio’s Ports, Francisco Martins, revealed in an interview for Intermodal that various investments are planned for the ports of Rio de Janeiro in 2024. “In addition to the auctions that are already expected, we are investing approximately R$600 million in port infrastructure and security. These resources will prioritize essential works for our ports, such as the dredging and revitalization of the Gamboa Quay and the deepening of the main channel of the Rio de Janeiro Port for the passage of 366-meter ships, allowing the entry of larger vessels into our ports,” he explains.

According to Martins, the administration is also investing in technology and innovation for the improvement of port security, such as the implementation of VTMIS - an acronym for Vessel Traffic Management Information System. “Here at Intermodal, we have an example of our monitoring through surveillance cameras. We are also investing in the implementation of VTMIS, a very important resource for port routine. We were in Barcelona recently at the world's largest connectivity fair (MWC), where we already aligned the bases of a partnership to enhance our systems. Our challenge is to make Rio de Janeiro and Itaguaí reference ports in security. We will not give any respite to any organization or individual who uses our ports as a channel for illicit acts.”

Regarding Intermodal South America, Francisco Martins added that “the event surprised with the movement and number of exhibitors, it exceeded our expectations, and this is already reflected from the first day in the number of people who come to us to discuss matters of company interest and the new investment expectations.”


An important port terminal on the northeast coast of Brazil, the Pecém Complex (CE) also integrates the roster of exhibiting brands at Intermodal South America 2024. One of the company's highlights is the Green Hydrogen Hub project, which foresees the installation of a manufacturing unit that will house 1.12 GW of H2V electrolysis upon its completion, with the capacity to produce 190 kilotons of renewable hydrogen and over one million tons of renewable ammonia per year. The plant, to be installed in Sector 2 of the Ceará Export Processing Zone (ZPE), is part of Phase I of Cactus and is scheduled to start its operations in 2027.

“This fair is one of the main events in the sector that the Complex participates in. Here, we can present to the public our differentials, our versatility as a port, our integration with the industrial zone and with ZPE Ceará, and our sustainability projects. We have important meetings to prospect new cargoes and business for the Pecém Complex, which can bring even more development to the State,” highlighted the President of the Pecém Complex, Hugo Figueiredo. The Pecém Complex is a joint venture formed by the Government of the State of Ceará and the Port of Rotterdam that moves bulk solids, liquid bulk, containers, and general cargo.


Directly from the city of Navegantes, in Santa Catarina (south of Brazil), Portonave brought to the São Paulo Expo pavilion the latest news and investments made in the terminal. “Intermodal is an excellent opportunity to interact with our business partners, importers, exporters, and shipowners; as well as to strengthen the institutional image of Portonave.

In this edition, our highlight is the wharf adaptation work, which started in 2024 with an investment of R$1 billion to receive ships up to 400 meters long," highlighted Osmari de Castilho Ribas, administrative superintendent director of Portonave.

Portos Paraná

In this edition, Portos Paraná brought to Intermodal a model that fully replicates the ports of Paranaguá and Antonina (PR). Visitors to the company's stand can also have an immersive experience of what it's like to be on the port strip, even while being here in São Paulo. “Perhaps this is one of the great differentials of this year, in addition to our entire port community here, which helps us build and make this one of the busiest stands at the fair. We usually say that Intermodal celebrates a moment of business opportunity between companies, port authorities, and the public sector, so we always make a point of attending the event,” said the CEO of Paraná’s Ports, Luiz Fernando Garcia.

Decarbonization in the logistics chain

Decarbonization in the logistics chain and alternative fuel sources were also topics at the Interlog Summit. The CEO of the Brazilian Association of Logistics Operators (ABOL), Marcella Cunha, spoke about the progress of the National Congress Bill  that aims to regulate the carbon market in Brazil.

The goal of the Bill is to create a system of carbon emission compensation, with the obligation to purchase titles for those who exceed the established quotas, and the right to sell quotas in the market for companies that did not reach this quota limit. “The expectation is that the Bill will be approved this year, which would mean that the carbon market would be established in 6 years in the country. This means that companies need to be ready for a total overhaul, especially in the accounting area. ABOL has been closely following the progress of the Bill in Brasília on behalf of our members,” said Marcella.

Marcella also highlighted the role of the association in raising awareness among logistics operators regarding ESG practices. ABOL formed an ESG Group to discuss and generate a diagnosis of this relationship with operators to encourage investments in this direction, especially to reduce carbon emissions. “The next step is to map an inventory to know the emission level of each operator,” she commented.

The Vice President of Operations at FedEx Express Brazil, Guilherme Gatti, discussed the company's global plan to become carbon neutral by 2040. “This goal will be achieved as a result of a reduction in carbon emissions in our operations and offsets obtained through other channels and technologies,” said Gatti.

He highlighted the renewal and electrification of part of FedEX's truck fleet in Brazil and the investment of 100 million dollars in the research area of Yale University (USA) for the development of new technologies to capture and store carbon.

Another logistics operator that emphasized their actions towards reducing carbon emissions and alternative fuel sources was the Head of Sustainability at Bravo, Marcos Azevedo. He pointed out that one of Bravo's bets on renewable energies is biomethane for the fleet's supply. “Biomethane has a lot of potential. However, we still need to overcome some barriers to make its consumption more widespread by other companies, such as increasing the number of refueling points.” The executive revealed that Bravo is set to inaugurate in May its own biomethane refueling point in the city of Paulínia. “The idea is to encourage the use of gas also by other operators,” he commented.

The CEO Brazil and Argentina of DB Schenker, Luís Marques, spoke about the investments in the purchase of biofuel to supply the partner chartering companies in the air and maritime modalities. “In 2023, we acquired 300,000 tons of biofuel for this purpose,” said Marques.

Brazilian Alliance for Port Decarbonization (ABDP)

The 28th Intermodal South America was chosen as the venue for port authorities to launch the Brazilian Alliance for Port Decarbonization, representing a historic turning point for Brazil's ports. The project is an extension of the success of the Spanish Alliance, an initiative that brings together ports for three years to collaborate on actions to reduce carbon in the maritime chain.


The program's initiative originated from the Itaqui Port, when last year it established a strategic partnership with Valenciaport, becoming the first Brazilian public port to join an innovative decarbonization project. Now, in conjunction with other port terminals, the program aims to create a national decarbonization plan, representing a bold and transformative step towards a more sustainable future for the country.

Important entities such as the Port of Itaqui, Port of Suape, Ports of Paraná, Port of Açu, Porto Sudeste, Valencia Foundation, ABTP (Brazilian Association of Port Terminals), ATP (Association of Private Port Terminals), and ABEPH (Brazilian Association of Port and Waterway Entities) signed the agreement. The event was attended by more than 65 interested parties from 37 companies across Brazil, including organizations, unions, associations of public and private ports, port ministries, ANTAQ, among others.

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