Transpetro launches tender to build a new fleet to transport ethanol worldwide

Source: Petrobras

Transpetro launched the tender to build 20 convoys (80 barges and 20 pusher tugs) that will navigate the Tietê-Paraná waterway, transporting ethanol to the domestic and foreign markets. The company picked the Feicana/Feibio – one of the main Brazilian sugar and alcohol sector gatherings, held annually in Araçatuba (state of São Paulo) – to launch the Promef Waterway, a new project under the Fleet Modernization and Expansion Program (Promef). This is the first time Transpetro will operate this type of vessel to transport ethanol. 

Chief-of-Staff, Dilma Rousseff, the CEO of Transpetro, Sergio Machado, and the mayor of Araçatuba, Cido Sério, attended the project's launching ceremony. 

The invitations to bid were went to the 25 shipyards, getting the tender procedures underway. The state-owned company expects to receive the proposals from shipyards interested in participating in the tender by the end of the first half of the year. Each convoy will be capable of transporting 7,200 cubic meters, or 7.2 million liters. The annual transportation capacity will reach 4 billion litters, about 20% of the current market. 

The new waterway convoy operation is part of Petrobras’ Program for Integrated Ethanol Transportation Logistics, which also includes building new pipelines, collection centers and terminals. Two thousand jobs are expected to be generated with the construction of the barges and pusher tugs, 400 of which direct and 1,600 more indirect ones. 

The new project is following in the steps of the Promef, which revitalized the Brazilian naval industry with orders being placed for 49 oil tankers. “As with the Promef, which was the driving force behind the rebirth of our naval industry, I am sure this new program will open the path towards a new era of intensive use of the waterway transportation mode in Brazil,” said Sergio Machado. 

Using waterway convoys also marks the onset of a needed change in Brazil’s transportation matrix, boosting the use of waterways, which are less polluting and more economical, and, furthermore, reducing the excessive participation of the highway mode. Waterway transportation emits a third of the carbon dioxide (CO2) and consumes nearly 75% less fuel than road transportation for a same transported load. CO2 emission reductions are slashed by about two thirds by using waterways. 

The Federal Government’s National Plan for Logistics and Transportation foresees an increase from 13% to 29% of the waterway mode share in cargo transportation in Brazil in twelve years. The main tool to be used to achieve this increase is encouraging waterway and cabotage navigation (along the coast). 

“Using waterways will afford a reduction in the logistics costs for our ethanol. This will allow us to gain competitiveness in all markets,” said Rousseff. 

The construction of Transpetro’s new waterway fleet will be based on the fundamental premises of the Promef: manufacturing in Brazil, 70% domestic content, and international shipyard competitiveness after the learning curve is reached. The tender will be opened to shipyards that are already installed and to units yet to be installed for bidding, the so-called ‘virtual shipyards.’ The new fleet of 20 convoys will start being delivered as of 2011.



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