Copersucar to reopen sugar warehouseBrazil’s Copersucar expects a raw sugar warehouse at its fire-damaged terminal in Santos to resume shipping in January, and additional export capacity to be available around May.
SAO PAULO — Brazil’s Copersucar expects a raw sugar warehouse at its fire-damaged terminal in Santos to resume shipping in January, and additional export capacity to be available around May, the company said on Dec. 4.
The Oct. 18 fire had taken most of the 10-million-metric-ton-per-year Santos sugar terminal offline. Copersucar, the world’s largest sugar and ethanol trader, had managed to contract sufficient export capacity in Brazil from other traders to guarantee all shipments for the next year.
Global sugar prices spiked after news of the fire at the world’s largest sugar terminal, which had just finished doubling its capacity in June, raised concerns about the loss of Brazil’s ability to export.
But the fire left the terminal’s ship loading and railway offloading equipment undamaged. The bagged, white sugar warehouse was also left largely intact, and one of five raw sugar warehouses was less damaged than the others.
Copersucar says it expects exports from this less-damaged warehouse, which can move 250,000 metric tons of raw sugar a month, to resume in January.
Back on line
In May, the facility will be linked up with two other raw sugar warehouses that are expected to come back on line. This would return the terminal’s capacity to 4 million metric tons a year, the company says.
That is still less than half the total capacity before the fire but enough to allow Copersucar to meet delivery commitments. The company does not expect the terminal to return to full capacity until early 2015.
Copersucar says it exported 3.8 million metric tons of the current 2013 to ’14 crop before the fire and expects to move an additional 3.2 million metric tons through March. Of the raw sugar yet to be exported this season, 2.4 million metric tons will go through third-party terminals in Santos and Paranagua ports contracted since the fire.
The company already exported its first raw sugar shipment from the fire-damaged terminal last month. It had managed to salvage 56,000 metric tons from the fire and sold the product at a discount because of additional moisture.
Copersucar Chief Executive Luis Roberto Pogetti told the Valor Economico on Dec. 4 that the 47-odd associate mills that hold most of Copersucar’s equity would probably approve the 100 million real ($42 million) capital expansion in a meeting planned for Dec. 17. The funds will help shore up capital for the company as it rebuilds its terminal.
For the season starting on April 1, Copersucar expects to export 6.5 million metric tons of sugar, he says.
“It doesn’t make sense for us to originate more (sugar) to export it from others’ terminals,” Pogetti says, adding Copersucar plans to move 4 million metric tons from its terminal and 2.5 million metric tons from other terminals next season.