Closed port in Türkiye haunts Brazilian exporters

The earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria at the beginning of the week caused material and human damage. The Turkish port of Iskenderun, an important gateway for Brazilian cotton to Turkey, was hit by a fire and is closed. Brazilian cotton exporters are worried, as the country is the fifth main destination for Brazil’s cotton exports. In 2022, 221 thousand tons of feather were sent to that market, corresponding to 13% of total shipments for the year. The region affected by the earthquake is home to a large number of companies in the Turkish textile sector, one of the country’s main cotton consumption centers. The reconstruction of the site and the resumption of normality in business are uncertain.

The National Association of Cotton Exporters (Anea) does not have an estimate of how many ships with containers of cotton wool are en route to Turkey. Brazilian and Turkish traders are exchanging preliminary information about the impacts, and there is particular concern about the city of Karamamaras, which was one of the epicenters of the earthquake.

The Port of Iskenderun is controlled by Turkey’s General Directorate of Maritime Affairs, which reported on Twitter that the fire had been controlled, but that services were unavailable. Waiting ships must proceed to other facilities, and there are no obstacles to operations at other port facilities in the Gulf. A.P. Moller Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, said it will not be able to deliver cargo that is currently in the waters bound for the Port of Iskenderun, but that it will keep containers in nearby ports and hubs for the next three weeks, no extra costs. The company offered agreements to change the destination of cargo to other ports in Turkey, with repackaging, operational and administrative fees. To divert cargo to ports outside of Turkey, Maersk will waive these charges, but customers will be responsible for re-stevedoring and extra relocation costs, in addition to the sea freight difference at the new destination.

The agribusiness and logistics specialist, Frederico Favacho, serves the main exporter associations in the sector. According to him, there is a double challenge for traders in this situation, as the ports where ships can be diverted are overloaded due to the war in Ukraine. He highlights the importance of analyzing the contract, talking to the contractors and understanding the specific situation of each load to know the best alternative. You need to see what is most worth it. For some, it may be a case of terminating the contract, paying the fine and selling the product to another importer, in another location. It’s a matter of putting the costs on the spreadsheet.

Brazil also exports soy, sugar and cellulose to the region. At least three ships are underway at the moment – ​​the journey takes around 20 days. Two vessels load soybeans. They set sail from Santarém and Itacoatiara, in Pará. From Rio Grande (RS), a load of soybean meal left for Turkey, according to information from the National Association of Cereal Exporters (Anec).