The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) has signed an agreement with Brazil’s Port of Itaqui to promote the shipment of grains and other cargo through the canal, World Grain reports.
The port, located in São Luis in the northeastern state of Maranhão, is Brazil’s closest port to the Panama Canal.
“This agreement is very important to enable the handling of grains to Asia through the canal, providing even more competitiveness to Itaqui,” said Ted Lago, president of the Maranhão Port Administration Co.
According to the PCA, the agreement would promote the use of Panamax locks for grain transit from northern Brazil to markets in Asia. It would allow joint marketing activities and the sharing of information on trade flows between the canal and Itaqui port to maximise future improvements and possible modernisation.
The PCA said Brazilian grain exporters were enjoying a substantial rise in shipment volumes. Vessels transporting grains, oilseeds and other dry commodities accounted for about 22.2% of the Panama Canal’s total ocean-going commercial transits from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2018.
The agreement comes after the PCA reached an agreement with the Brazilian Association of Soybean and Corn Producers of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja) in March 2018 to conduct joint marketing activities and exchange information that would benefit trade flow and future improvements.