Cellulose is one of the most present materials in our daily lives. It is used as raw material for several types of items produced by the printing, hygiene, pharmaceutical, and food industries, and already serves as input for new production capabilities and needs of humanity, such as the bio-economy.
Brazil is proud to be one of the protagonists in the cellulose market. The country is the second largest producer, behind only the United States, and is at the top of the global ranking among exporters. Not by chance, Brazilians have cellulose as one of their main export products, and it is one of the most promising sectors of our agribusiness for the external market.
Asian countries are the main buyers of the Brazilian product. The Chinese environmental policy has strengthened the segment in Brazil. According to data from Comex Vis, a data access tool linked to the Ministry of Economy, China was the destination of 43% of the cellulose produced in Brazil in the first half of 2021. European countries and the United States also import cellulose, the result of the sustainable management of Brazilian eucalyptus.
Sea of Cellulose
To handle the massive shipment abroad, the port sector's performance is vital in the logistics of fiber transportation. The ports of Paranaguá, in the South of the country, and Belmonte, in the Northeast, are some of those with increasing cellulose handling. However, the Port of Santos, the largest in Latin America, thanks to private investments, has recovered its area of influence in the handling of the product, which, due to lack of capacity in the past, had migrated its outflow.
The Port of Santos is close to the main production sites (the state of São Paulo itself, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso and Bahia) and has a good logistical access structure. In addition, with the expectation of cabotage development, there is a potential for shipments not only abroad, but also to other regions of the country by sea.
The product has the highest annual growth rate in the Port of Santos. With new investments foreseen and the inauguration of two new structures in the coming years, the handling of this type of cargo should increase to five million tons annually.
More than 8 million tons of cellulose were exported in the first half of 2021. The Port of Santos accounts for 20% of this volume, with almost 2 million tons leaving the complex dedicated to cellulose operations located at the DP World Santos terminal.Given the representativity of cellulose in Brazilian exports, it is not surprising that one of the global references in cellulose production, Suzano S/A, has its largest and most modern port complex installed inside the DP World Santos terminal, on the left bank of the Port of Santos. With a capacity of 3.6 million tons, the site carries out significant shipments of the product abroad, destined in particular for the consumer markets of Asia.
Sustainability in cultivation
The cellulose that reaches the terminal comes from eucalyptus forests that occupy an area of 2.3 million hectares, of which 960,000 hectares are set aside for conservation in the main biomes existing in the country (Brazilian savannah, Atlantic Forest, and Amazon). The cultivation of trees is based on efficient and sustainable forest management, with real-time monitoring of product quality, climate and fires, in addition to commitments to prevent climate changes, intelligent water management and partnerships with WWF, P&G and SOS Mata Atlântica. The environmental performance of Suzano, a DP World partner, has even been selected to be part of the select UN publication “Inspiring Examples to Drive Change“, which brings together 16 success stories from around the world, which highlighted its environmental restoration program.
Operating since 2020, the complex received investments of R$ 700 million and has a 35 thousand m² warehouse with a static capacity for more than 150 thousand tons of raw material.
All the cellulose received at the DP World terminal is transported by rail from Suzano's production units, installed in the cities of Jacareí (São Paulo) and Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul). Railway transport is a more sustainable option, since it reduces the emission of polluting gases into the atmosphere when compared to road transport.
DP World's port infrastructure dedicated to cellulose is the most modern in Brazil and one of the most modern in the world for this type of activity. We are talking about an automated operation that uses overhead cranes for moving cargo, which may be operated remotely from a control room where operators make movements with joystick, viewing operating conditions through images transmitted in real time to the control panel, which provides more dynamism, efficiency and safety to operations.
The project is growing rapidly: from January to July this year 1.8 million tons have already been moved, which already equals the entire period of 2020. Another highlight is that, in a single ship, 68,800 tons of raw material were shipped, the largest shipment ever in the history of the Port of Santos.
DP World expects to close the year 2021 with 3.3 million tons of fiber handled, an increase of more than 80% compared to the previous year.