Vale will install a fourth pier at Ponta da Madeira in Maranhao, carry out dredging work and improve railroad access to turn the port into Brazil's largest in terms of handling capacity and volume in 2012, Vale in a statement said that At that time the port's capacity will rise to 150 million metric tons a year.
In addition to handling more iron ore, Ponta da Madeira will export soybeans and corn produced in northeast, north and centerwest Brazil, using a new railroad route provided by the North-South Railroad, which is operated by Vale and interconnected with its Carajas Railroad, the company said. Rail access to the port, near the city of Sao Luis, will be enhanced by Vale laying a second track on a 115 kilometer stretch of the Carajas Railroad, which brings ore from its Carajas mines.
The expanded Ponta da Madeira port will be an alternative to three major grain and cargo ports in south and southeast Brazil: Rio Grande in Rio Grande do Sul state, Paranagua in Parana state and Santos in Sao Paulo state.
Vale said that the fourth pier being built at Ponta da Madeira will be able to receive and load two ships simultaneously, of between 150,000 and 400,000 tonnes capacity. The port is already one of the world's largest, and the only one that can fully load the 346,000 tonne bulk carrier Berge Stahl and the 400,000-ton Vale Brasil.
(Sourced from Dow Jones Newswires)