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Porto Central joint deal?

Rotterdam port authority and the Sultanate of Oman are considering a joint investment in a port in Brazil.
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Porto Central is planned in the state of Espírito Santo and the location is around 250 km north of Rio de Janeiro. The greenfield deepwater complex should accommodate dry bulk, general cargo, oil, gas and offshore support, said Rotterdam CEO Hans Smits.

With local municipal body Terminal Presidente Kennedy (TPK) as project developer, Rotterdam and Oman might invest around 20%, with the remainder to be financed locally, but “we would need to have the decisive say in the port’s development and management,” said Smits. “We wouldn’t engage in any foreign port investment if we didn’t.”

Rotterdam and the Sultanate already have a successful 50:50 joint venture in the port of Sohar on Oman’s north coast, at the Gulf of Oman. This port, too, was developed on a greenfield site under the auspices of the Rotterdam port authority, which also provides port management.

“Our investment in and developing of Porto Central is likely to entail both port construction and involvement in handling operations by Rotterdam or Dutch companies. But a sound return on our own investment must always be key. Our returns from Sohar lately lie in the 12-15 range,” Smits noted.

The state of Espírito Santo, the local municipality of Presidente Kennedy and TPK, signed an agreement with the Port of Rotterdam Authority in April last year. The port had already been asked to review Brazil’s 34 public seaports in 2010.

One obvious potential user of the planned new port of about 1,000-ha (in phase 1) would be the Ferrous mining company, which has iron ore concessions said to comprise 2 Bt of feasible ore, 400 km inland in the state of Minas Gerais. Slurry piping of iron ore towards the port of shipment has been suggested.

However, it is understood that there are as yet no firm commitments from any shipper.

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