Brazil’s Vibra manage to save BRL 36 mln with cabotage

Feb, 23, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202310

At least once a month, one or two vessels leave the port of Rio Grande bound for Suape, transporting fuel produced by Vibra. These trips along the coast – which take approximately five days – helped the company to save BRL 36 million in 2022. In addition, these trips prevented the emission of 10 thousand tons of CO2 that would be emitted in truck trips.

The company projected a 20% increase in the volume of fuel transported via cabotage in the past. However, strong demand for the product in the Northeast region fostered even greater growth.

Coastal shipping was used to transport 63 million liters of biodiesel and 173 million liters of ethanol, with 33% and 51% increases compared to 2021, according to the company.

In 2022, the company sold 300 million liters of biodiesel and 330 million liters of ethanol in the Northeast. Therefore, there is still room to expand the use of cabotage. The company expects to grow it between 15% and 20% this year.

“The majority of biofuels are produced in the South and Midwest. And no production units are currently being built. So we’ll have to transport it by road or cabotage, whichever is more efficient,” Marcelo Bragança, Vibra’s executive vice president of operations, logistics, and sourcing, told Valor.


Each ship is usually loaded with 5 million liters of biodiesel, while a bit-train truck in overland operations carries a maximum of 60,000 liters.

Cabotage is part of Vibra’s plans to zero its CO2 emissions in scopes 1 and 2 – which involve the company’s direct operations and energy use – by 2025. To support this strategy, part of the R$ 1 billion invested in infrastructure over the last three years has been used to increase storage capacity in the ports of Belém, Cabedelo, Santarém, and Suape.

“Two large modernization works will be completed in 2024,” says Bragança. “We also work extensively with suppliers in the South because biodiesel is hygroscopic” (it tends to absorb water over time, which is not good). Therefore, we thoroughly examined the logistics chain and our processes.”

Even last year’s increase in ship fuel prices – the war in Ukraine triggered a sharp rise in oil prices, which pushed up oil product prices – did not deter Vibra’s bet on cabotage. “The cost of road transport is also influenced by oil, but the maritime modal is more efficient due to scale,” he explained.

One of the investments currently underway at the company aims to transform the port of Santarém into a focal point for large ships, as smaller barges often carry out local operations. In addition, operations to the Northeast will also bring imported inputs via cabotage to factories in the Center-South of Brazil.

Source: Valor Econômico

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