Port of Fortaleza anticipates twofold fruit export increase with new shipping routes

The Port of Fortaleza, also known as the Mucuripe Port, has introduced four new fruit export routes for the 2023/2024 season (from September to February). These routes include services to London, Rotterdam, Le Havre (France), and Vigo (Spain).

Recently, the port opened a new gate known as the “fruit corridor,” an exclusive entry point for fruit shipments aimed at improving traffic flow in the vicinity while adhering to security measures and customs criteria.

The port is renowned for handling primarily melon crops produced at the border region between the states of Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte, covering the cities of Icapuí and Mossoró and their surroundings.

According to Rinaldo Lira, Business Management Coordinator at the Ceará Port Company, the port authority overseeing the Port of Fortaleza, the administration has made significant efforts to attract investments. An example of this is a leased area exclusively dedicated to fruit exports.

“It’s important to note that the port has a history of exporting fruits to Europe for over two decades. However, we are now looking to the future and working on our consolidation in this market.”

He emphasizes that with the specific actions taken this year alone, the volume of exported cargo has almost doubled.

“Not long ago, our average fruit export in TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) was 50,000. With the new lease dedicated to the fruit container terminal, this year alone, we will handle close to 90,000 TEUs.”

Lira also points out that a medium-term action plan is being developed to enable an even greater increase in cargo exported from the location.

“We are structuring a new lease for the fruit terminal with the Ministry of Ports and Airports. With this, we are talking about a perspective of reaching 300,000 TEUs/year in refrigerated containers specialized for fruit transport within the next 25 years.”

The chart below compares exports and imports, measured in tonnes, between Jan 2019 and Oct 2023. The data is from DataLiner.

Maritime terminal lease logistics improvements
Being within the urban area of Fortaleza, the Business Management Coordinator of the Ceará Port Company reveals that improvements in terrestrial logistics infrastructure are also being studied and planned.

For the near future, he mentions the pre-scheduling of trucks and the construction of a truck yard and new accesses (gates) “to avoid the traffic congestion of a larger flow of trucks within the city of Fortaleza.”

“The port has been structuring itself, mainly because we are a port-city embedded within the urban network of the metropolitan region of Fortaleza. Thus, we need to provide efficiency so that this flow does not impact the region, hence the studies of new actions.”

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