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Floods Disrupt Access to Brazil’s 4th Biggest Soy Port

Reuters Roberto Samora and Ana Mano reported Tuesday that “road and rail links to a major grains port in southern Brazil have been disrupted by the impact of heavy floods, Anec, an association representing global grain exporters including Cargill and Bunge said on Tuesday.”

“Rail service to the port has been interrupted while road blockades were forcing trucks loaded with grains to travel an extra 400 kilometers (248.55 miles) through alternative routes to reach the port, increasing freight costs, Anec said,” according to Samora and Mano’s reporting. “Cargonave, a shipping agency, said grain arrivals at Rio Grande had slowed after torrential rains battered Brazil’s southernmost state, which is a big soy, corn, wheat, rice and meat producer.”

“Grain traders based in Brazil exported about 10.4 million metric tons of soybeans from Rio Grande port in 2023, making it the country’s fourth-ranked port for soy shipments, according to shipping data,” Samora and Mano reported. “Last year, companies also exported about 3.6 million tons of various soy meals from Rio Grande, putting it behind Santos and Paranagua only for this type of product, the data showed.”

Current State of the Floods

Reuters’ Leonardo Benassatto, Andre Romani and Lisandra Paraguassu reported Monday that “Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva asked Congress on Monday to recognize a state of public calamity for the heavy rains that have killed at least 85 people in the country’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul.”

“More than 130 people are still missing after flooding that has affected more than two-thirds of the nearly 500 cities in the state, leaving about 150,000 people displaced, the state civil defense authority said,” Benassatto, Romani and Paraguassu reported.

The Associated Press’ Mauricio Savarese and Gabriela Sa Pessoa reported that drinking water supplies are in peril across the region, where “a mayor in southern Brazil asked residents to ration water Tuesday in a state capital where some 80% of the population is without running water. …Five of the city’s six water treatment facilities aren’t working, and Porto Alegre Mayor Sebastião Melo ordered that water be used exclusively for ‘essential consumption.'”

Benassatto, Romani and Paraguassu reported that weather conditions had improved early in the week, “but showers are expected to return at lower volumes this week and could pick up again between May 10 and 15, according to local weather forecaster MetSul Meteorologia.”

Grain Storage Affected, too

Samora and Mano reported that “the escalating crisis also led competing meatpackers to join forces to circumvent logistical hurdles brought about by the heavy downpours, which disrupted water and electricity services to 1.4 million people, the state’s Civil Defense agency said.”

“According to a local meat lobby, the meat companies began sharing resources to speed up delivery of feed and water supplies to chicken and hog farms, where an unspecified number of animals have perished due to the devastating floods,” Samora and Mano wrote. “Paulo Pires, president of Rio Grande do Sul farm lobby Fecoagro, said it was too early to know how much grain production had been lost due to the flooding that hit silos around river areas.

“Gedeao Pereira, president of agriculture lobby Farsul, confirmed isolated cases of food silos being hit by floods, but said they could dry in time and hence losses would be minimized,” Samora and Mano reported.

Other Services Disrupted

The Rio Times’ Iolanda Fonseca reported that “operations at Porto Alegre International Airport in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, have been indefinitely halted due to the region’s worst recorded storm. …The shutdown was necessary to protect travelers and staff amid ongoing dangerous conditions.”

“This disruption extended beyond the airport to include the city’s main bus terminal, severely impacting both local and regional transportation networks,” Fonseca reported. “The airport’s closure affects international routes to Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay, complicating travel and isolating the region at a critical time.”

Ryan Hanrahan is the Farm Policy News editor and social media director for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked in local news, primarily as an agriculture journalist in the American West. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.S. Science & Agricultural Journalism). He can be reached at

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