RIO DE JANEIRO, April 6 (Reuters) - Truck access to the Port of Santos, Brazil’s largest, was further restricted early on Monday as a result of a fire that has raged for five days at a fuel depot at the port, which serves Sao Paulo, South America’s largest city.
Trucks heading to the “right”, or City of Santos, side of the Port of Santos on the Anchieta Highway were blocked from descending the Serra do Mar mountains starting at midnight on Monday, EcoRodovias, the company that runs the Anchieta portion of the highway said on its website.
Trucks heading to Guaruja, a port city on the “left” side of the channel that provides access to the Port of Santos, are being allowed to proceed, Sao Paulo’s transport regulator said in a statement.
The fire has restricted access to the port since late last week, disrupting soybean and other exports from Brazil. In recent years the country has been challenging the United States for the title of world’s largest soybean exporter.
The Serra do Mar is a steep range of mountains that separate Santos on the coastal lowlands from Sao Paulo, the capital of Brazil’s industrial heartland about 50 kilometers (30 miles) away on a high, interior plain.
The trucks are being held back where drivers turn off the Imigrantes highway for the Anchieta, Sao Paulo’s transportation regulator said in a statement. The move has caused traffic jams on the Anchieta/Imigrantes system, Sao Paulo transport officials said.
The fire in a fuel storage facility near Brazil’s largest port Santos broke out on Thursday. On Sunday there were as many as 110 firefighters working to control it, the local fire-department officials said.
Six fuel tanks run by Ultracargo, owned by Brazil’s Grupo Ultra, have been damaged in the blaze. Two of them were still burning late on Sunday, the fire department and Ultracargo said. (Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)