privatization of the Port of Santos / Privatização do porto de Santos
Ports and Terminals

Antaq looks into revisiting anti-monopoly rules for Santos Port terminal bidding

May, 24, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202324

The board of directors of Brazil’s ANTAQ (National Agency for Waterway Transportation) is expected to revise the original proposal of restrictions applied to a future container terminal at the Port of Santos to avoid an excessive concentration of market share in the hands of integrated business groups in case they win the bidding process.

Director-General Eduardo Nery announced this decision. He mentioned objections raised by two companies regarding Deliberation 132/2022, which approved the analysis of contributions from Public Hearing 6/2022 on the studies for the bidding of STS10, the new container terminal at the country’s most important port. The objecting companies were Maersk and TiL (Terminal Investment Limited), affiliated with the MSC shipping company.

Preserving sound competition is a critical issue in this process. Accordingly, it has received special attention from the agency and other government bodies, which fear that if STS10 is controlled by shipping companies that own terminals (known as vertically integrated companies), there may be an inducement for other non-vertically integrated terminals (white-flag terminals) at the port not to receive overseas cargo.

Therefore, in the proposal submitted to the government for the STS10 bidding, ANTAQ agreed to impose certain restrictions on the shipping companies. For example, the agency decided not to allow Maersk and MSC, which already have a jointly-owned terminal in Santos called BTP, to participate together unless there are no other competitors. As a result, cargo operations would be limited for a certain period if they were to win.

The companies complained that the restrictions created a market monopoly for the current container terminals, but the Director-General disputed this claim. Nery stated that the proposal aims to “promote competition” and prevent market concentration and deterioration. He refused to change the rule preventing the two carriers from repeating their BTP partnership. However, he admitted that the limitation on cargo movement needed to be rewritten.

The shipping companies argued that with the limit, they could be forced to deliver cargo to less efficient terminals with worst prices than STS10. Nery stated that this is not the agency’s intention and “cannot be accepted.” According to him, the proposed time frame (until 2032) for said restrictions, as well as the wording of the impediment itself, will be made clear to avoid over-benefitting white-flag terminals.


However, the directors agreed that, for now, it is best to halt the process until the Ministry of Ports and Airports defines a new bidding format. This is because the ministry is reevaluating all the lease projects at the Port of Santos, especially STS10. Director Alber Vasconcelos stated that it is not even known if “STS10 is still a thing.” This is due to the possibility that this terminal will be bid alongside the BTP terminal.

Also, there is contention on whether that area should be auctioned separately from another terminal, Ecoporto, which was initially planned to be auctioned alongside the new STS10 region.

The Antaq meeting where these and other issues were debated was recorded and can be watched here.

Source: Agência infra

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