(Adds access to port to increase over the weekend)
SAO PAULO, April 10 (Reuters) - Truck access to Brazil’s main port of Santos will increase over the weekend as work to control a week-old fire at a neighboring fuel tank facility winds down, the local mayor’s office said.
The fire was mostly extinguished by Friday morning, with fire fighters working to cool the tanks and snuff out any flames still forming in the released gas. It should be completely burned out by Saturday, the mayor’s office said.
Authorities blocked an entrance to the port for cargo trucks near the Ultracargo facility for a fifth day on Friday, but trucks have been able to access the Santos side of the port at night. The other side, in Guaruja, has not been affected.
The mayor’s office and the port authority were meeting with local highway regulators to determine the exact times trucks would be able to access the port over the weekend.
Santos has not been able to export 400,000 tonnes of soybeans and soymeal, commodities for which Brazil provides much of the world’s supplies, soy industry association Abiove said on Thursday.
The number of trucks accessing the port overnight grew throughout the week to 1,537 on Thursday night, compared with 198 on Monday evening, according to the mayor’s office.
On Friday, the mayor of Santos also suspended operations at the fuel storage warehouse operated by Ultracargo, a unit of Brazilian chemical and fuel-distribution company Grupo Ultra.
“With this measure, all the company’s activities in the city are suspended until all legal requirements are met to ensure the site’s safety,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.
Ultracargo said its facility had always complied with legal and technical standards and that it would provide any necessary clarifications to the mayor.
Reporting by Gustavo Bonato and Caroline Stauffer Editing by W Simon