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Port leasing and the new Port Regulatory Framework

by Janaina Ramalho published May 09, 2014 11:23 AM, last modified May 13, 2014 03:22 PM

The new Ports Regulatory Framework was enacted on June 5, 2013. The law explains about the Government exploitation of ports, port facilities and activities performed by port workers.

Before Law No. 12,815, this sector was guided by the Law 8,630. All throughout 2012 and the first semester of 2013, the Federal Government, the Presidency Secretariat for Ports (SEP/PR), National Agency for Waterway Transportation (ANTAQ), Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Finance, Civil Cabinet and the Planning and Logistic Company (EPL) joined efforts to coordinate discussions with the entire port community in order to draw the new ports regulatory framework, which includes leasing areas in the statutory ports.

Based on those discussions with the port agents, 159 terminal areas located within the statutory ports were mapped as possible facilities to be leased to the private sector. At this point, the investment needs were drawn.

President Dilma Roussef announced on December 6, 2012 the Investments and Logistic Plan for Ports (PIL – Portos), which foresees an investment of R$54.2 billion (reais) in modernization of the Brazilian port sector until 2017. The announced and expected amount of invetsments for the leasings is R$ 17.2 billion.

Following the program directions, the Presidency Secretariat for Ports issued Act 15 SEP/PR, in February 2013. It also published a list of the 159 possible leasing areas organized by regions. Afterwards, the SEP/PR divided the leasable areas in four blocks, according to the chart below:


BlocksPortPossible Leasing Areas
Defined by Ordinance SEP/PR nº 15 Forwarded to the Court of Audit of Brazil
Block 1 Santos/SP 26 9
Vila do Conde/PA 7 4
Santarém/PA 6 4
Belém, Miramar and Outeiro/PA 13 12
Total Areas Block 1 52 29
Block 2 São Sebastião/SP 1 -
Salvador/BA 4 -
Aratu/BA 9 -
Paranaguá/PR 25 -
Total Areas Block 2 39 -
Block 3 Maceió/AL 3 -
Suape/PE 6 -
Recife/PE 4 -
Cabedelo/PB 8 -
Fortaleza/CE 2 -
Itaqui/MA 12 -
Santana/AP 1 -
Total Areas Block 3 36 -
Block 4 Rio Grande/RS 6 -
Porto Alegre/RS 2 -
Imbituba/SC* 4 -
Itajaí/SC 2 -
São Francisco do Sul/SC 1 -
Rio de Janeiro/RJ 4 -
Niterói/RJ 2 -
Itaguaí/RJ 1 -
Vitória/ES 9 -
Manaus/AM* 1 -
Total Areas Block 4 32 1
Possible Leasable Areas 159


After division of the blocks, the procurement schedule was organized as the following: 

Public ConsultationPublic HearingApproval by Government Accountability OfficePublication of Bidding DocumentsAuction
to 06/09/2013
30/08/2013 - Santos) and
02/09/2013 - Belém
Undergoing analysis *To be defined *To be defined
to 25/10/2013
17/10/2013 - São Sebastião
18/10/2013 - Salvador
21/10/2013 - Paranaguá 
To be defined To be defined To be defined
To be defined To be defined To be defined To be defined To be defined
To be defined To be defined To be defined To be defined To be defined

* Forecast

Improvements – When promoting the leasing of areas within statutory ports, the Federal Government’s goal is to modernize the port infrastructure in order to support the ongoing growth and cargo handling.

The evolution of cargo handling (by port facility) indicates a 78.6% growth between 2001 and 2012, along with a port handling (solid bulk, liquid bulk, general cargo and containerized cargo) growth forecast of 5.7 % per year (2010-2030). The 2012-2030 cycle foresees an increase of 150% on the total handling. It is worth remembering that the statutory ports and the Private Use Terminals (TUPs) handled more than 90% of the global product volume imported and exported by Brazil in 2012.

Besides increasing handling (with economy of scale), the Government’s goal is to reduce costs and enhance port efficiency, mitigating congestions regarding the Brazilian trade flow. Other benefits are the increase in competition, reorganization of ports and the planning possibility on long term port activities.

Procurement – Procurement of leases inside the statutory ports is conducted by ANTAQ, which is linked to SEP/PR. According to the Brazilian freedom of information principles, as soon as the studies and documents regarding the leasing process are finished they become available on ANTAQ’s website (

Timetable – Procurement timetable includes the following steps: development of technical, economic and environmental feasibility studies; analysis of the studies by the Joint Committee of SEP/ANTAQ, public consulting and hearings when each person (natural or private legal person) can send their contributions and comments intending to adjust or improve the available documents; sending the studies and documents to the Government Accountability Office (TCU); publication of bidding documents and auction.

It is worth mentioning that besides the public consulting and hearings, SEP/PR calls requests the presence of the port management, authorities, users and agents that are related with the port activities to present studies and debate the solutions and suggestions.

Criteria – The procurement of the leasable areas will take into consideration the vocation of each port. As established in the new Ports Regulatory Framework, the criteria to define the winning bidder are no longer attached to the payment of a higher grant value per area. It is now based on the lowest tariff, the highest handling capacity and the fastest cargo handling criteria.

These criteria seek to clearly implement the main guideline of the new Ports Regulatory Framework. The future tenants of port terminals inside statutory port areas must ensure the fare affordability, a cutback on the port costs (smallest fare), the expansion, improvement and optimization of the infrastructure and superstructure belonging to the port facilities and the statutory ports.

This result will be possible through a series of actions seeking to prioritize efficiency gains (less cargo handling time) and investments on port infrastructure (higher handling capacity) more than just the payment ability on the granting time.

Some contractual conditions have been set for the winning bids, such as, minimum investment amounts, as well as minimum productivity and capacity.

For terminals leased and selected according to the handling capacity criteria, the government will establish a tariff in case there are reasonable risks of abusive prices or need for treatment isonomy. For terminals leased and selected according to the smallest tariff criteria, a minimum handling capacity will be established to prevent its idleness and ensure access to every user.