The Gran Rosario has been identified as “the most important oilseed
complex in the world due to the geographical concentration of high
scale crushing plants”. It is now considered “the most important
soy complex export node in the whole world”. With the shipping of
40 million tons of soybean complex products during 2016, the Gran
Rosario has surpassed the New Orleans’ Custom District (USA) and
the port of Santos (Brazil) tonnages. Actually, GR is the origin of
44% of the world soymeal trade and 50% of the world soybean oil
With a total of 39.36 Mt of soybean, soymeal and soybean oil dispatched
during 2016, the Gran Rosario became the main soy complex export port of
the world (Graphic Nº 1). It has surpassed the New Orleans’ Custom District
(within the area of influence of the Gulf of Mexico), Louisiana, which
exported 38.96 Mt of several soy products in 2016. Considering volume,
Santos, next to Sao Paulo city in Brazil, is the third soy complex port. If
we compute all kind of freight (bulks, liquids, containers, etc.), the port
node of Santos is the most important of Latin American due to the
commercial volume. Nevertheless, if we take into consideration only soy
complex exports, the Gran Rosario greatly exceeded Santos, by 20 MT.
The Gran Rosario has already been identified as “the most important oilseed
complex in the world due to the geographical concentration of high scale
crushing plants”. Now it is labeled as “the most important soy complex
export node in the whole world”.
There is no other place in the world where one can witness three factors
regarding the oilseed crushing industry:
a) Geographical concentration of crushing plants. On a 70-kilometer strip
of land on the right bank of the Parana River there are 20 crushing plants
in 19 port terminals.
b) The high volume of daily crushing capacity in each individual plant,
turning them into world leaders (Renova, Molinos Rio and Terminal VI have
20,000 t / day each one). Renova is developing enlargement plans in Timbues
location to reach a crushing capacity of 30,000 t / day.
c) The high volume of daily crushing capacity in the Gran Rosario complex
as whole, with a capacity reaching to 158,750 t / day. The entire Brazil
oilseed crushing capacity equals to these 20 industrial plants located in
the Gran Rosario.
Paranagua and Rio Grande, Brazilian ports of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul
states, are in the 4th and 5th position in the ranking of Table N° 1. In
the 11th place, it is located the Argentinian port of Bahia
Blanca, with a soybean products exported volume of 3 Mt during 2016.
There is an important feature in the Gran Rosario; it is the world leader
in the shipping of soymeal and soybean oil. 5 out of 10 ocean vessels
carrying soymeal or soybean oil have loaded their cargoes in the port
terminals of Gran Rosario. Most of the soy complex products exported from
New Orleans or Santos are soybean since USA and Brazil are the main
exporters or suppliers of raw soybean to China. Gran Rosario is a clear
evidence of Argentina as the main supplier of soymeal and soybean oil in
1. USA soy complex exports
USA has two main outlet nodes for its grain and by products exports. One of
them is the outlet from the Pacific ports, being South East Asia, adding
Japan and China, their main destinations. The other one is the mouth of the
Mississipppi River, in the so called New Orleans’ Custom District, in the
Gulf of Mexico. The latter is the main export node for bulk grains and
their byproducts, according to AMS (Agriculture Marketing Service, USDA)
The Mississippi basin is the main artery of the North American grain
marketing system, exporting corn, wheat, soybean and byproducts
competitively. Due to the importance of the area, all the ports located in
the Louisiana area (NO Custom District) were selected since the area is
greater than the one covered by AMS, which has only selected the exports
shipped from the ports located on the Mississppi river banks.
According to AMS, the ports along the Mississippi River, from Baton Rouge
to Myrtle Grove (LA), are simply known as New Orleans or the port region of
New Orleans. They are close enough, adjacent inclusive, to conform a great
complex shipping complex. The New Orleans Port Region has all mode of
transportation (sea, barge, rail and truck) which allows that ocean vessels
can navigate toward ports located 360 km up river from the Gulf of Mexico.
This complex gives easy access to the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and
the Panama Canal.
From Table N° 2, you can see that New Orleans’ custom region exported 33.5
Mt of soybean (58% of the USA total exports), 4.9 Mt of soymeal or soymeal
pellets (47% of the USA total exports) and 541 thousand tons of soybean oil
(54% of the USA total exports) during 2016. As a summary, the main soy
complex export node in USA shipped almost 39 Mt of soybean and their
products in 2016.
2. Brazil soy complex exports
There are two exit routes for exporting grains and their byproducts in
Brazil. One of them passes through the north ports: Sao Luis (Itaqui),
Barcarena (Belém), Santarém, Manaus, Itaituba. The three latter are river
ports located on the Amazona River. Santarém and Manaus can receive Panamax
vessels requiring a mínimum draught of 39.5 feet of depth. The other exit
route is in the Southeast region, where the main sea ports handle the main
volume of Brazil exports; Santos, Paranaguá, Rio Grande, San Francisco Do
Sul, Vitoria, Salvador, among the main ones.
There are 40 river and sea ports and 42 port terminals in Brazil. The main
port of Brazil, and of Latin America, is Santos. Santos has several private
port terminals y 29% of the national soy complex exports were shipped from
there in 2016.
From Table N° 3 you can see that the main volume of the soy complex is
shipped from Southeast ports (Santos, Paranaguá, Río Grande, San Francisco
do Sul, Vitoria, etc.) representing 79% -all of them- of the national
total. Santos, Paranaguá and Río Grande are the main ones.
Santos Port has 5 container terminals, 12 general cargo, 24 bulk liquid, 14
solid bulk, 2 automotive boarding terminals and one passenger terminal. It
represents 28.6% in the Brazilian trade balance, being its main exported
products those of the soybean complex, sugar, orange juice, corn and
chemical paste of wood. In the same way that the ports of New Orleans area,
in the United States, all the modes of transport available (barges from the
waterway Tietê-Paraná, making their transshipment in Pederneiras; railways;
pipelines and trucks by different roads) converge in the port of Santos.
The Santos port channel currently has 42.64 feet of depth and there are
plans to improve maintenance with the execution of additional dredging.
Through the port node of Santos, 14.47 Mt of soybeans, 4.83 Mt of soymeal
and/or soy pellets and 30 thousand tons of soybean oil were exported in
2016, adding a total of 19.33 Mt.
3. Argentina soy complex exports. The Gran Rosario.
As in Brazil and USA, the bulk of grain and its byproducts logistics in
Argentina are organized under two main port areas: the one comprising the
port nodes of Quequén and Bahía Blanca, in the south of the province of
Buenos Aires, and that of the Gran Rosario, which covers the port terminals
located in a 70-km strip on the right bank of the Paraná River, from
Timbúes to Arroyo Seco (also known as the Up-River Parana area).
In this exporting pole are installed 29 port terminals that operate
different types of freights; 19 of them dispatch grains, oils and
by-products in bulk to the whole world. Twelve (12) of these 19 port
terminals have annexed oilseed crushing plants, some of them with the
largest capacities in the world. There is another crushing plant outside
the port area, but very close to the river bank so all the Gran Rosario
area has 20 oilseed processing plants.
Through the Gran Rosario area 78% of the exports of grain, protein meals
and vegetable oils from Argentina are shipped. The second place is occupied
by the Bahia Blanca node, with an 11% share over the national figure. The
year 2016 showed a true national record: Argentina exported 86 Mt of
grains, oils and by-products, of which 67 Mt came out by the Gran Rosario.
The Gran Rosario exported 3.85 Mt of soya beans (40% of the national
total), 29.7 Mt of protein meal and soya pellets (97% of the Argentinean
shipments of these products) and 5.8 Mt of soybean oil (99% of shipments
from Argentina). The gross total added 39.36 Mt for 2016.
If the grains and by-products are added and compared with the national
figure, it will be highlighted that GR dispatched 63.2% of the soya beans,
96.2% of the protein meals and/or pellets and 97.3% of the vegetable oils
from all over Argentina in 2016.
For that reason, it is asserted that 2016 was the year in which the Gran
Rosario became the main soybean complex port-exporting node in the world,
and exceeded the volume shipped from New Orleans and Santos. The figures
enhance the economic significance of this geographical area, not only for
Argentina but also for the external clients of the complex's products.