Brazil's Rousseff promises auction of key soy road this year

miércoles 12 de febrero de 2014 10:14 GYT
 

SAO PAULO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Brazil's President Dilma
Rousseff on Wednesday said an auction for an essential stretch
of road for soy and corn exports through Mato Grosso state will
happen this year.
    The new stretch, connecting the region with new river ports
northward, is still being paved, but will be auctioned to
bidders interested in running and maintaining the road. 
    Another leg of the road, the BR-163, was awarded to local
engineering firm Odebrecht Transport in a competitive auction on
Nov. 27. The auction was significant because Rousseff's
government has struggled for years to attract private investment
in infrastructure projects. 
    The road runs into Para state to the port of Miritituba,
where Bunge plans to open a terminal next month. From
there it continues northward, to a terminal run by Cargill
 in Santarem.
    Rousseff said the end of work on the road is "really very
close" in an interview with a local radio station in Mato
Grosso, where she held a meeting with farmers on Tuesday.
    Cargill, Bunge and ADM all plan to increase exports
through the northern route to about 3 million tonnes this year
as they seek alternatives to the crowded, distant ports on the
southeast coast. 
    "We will award, it is important to say, the stretch of the
BR-163 between Sinop, in Mato Grosso, and the port of
Miritituba, in Para," Rousseff said. "We have already had a show
of interest," she added.
    Brazil is the world's top soybean exporter and the size of
its crop is approaching that of the United States even though
few new ports or terminals have been built in recent years.

 (Reporting by Eduardo Simões; Writing by Caroline Stauffer;
editing by Sofina Mira-Reid)