Taking a Fresh Look at Brazil’s Transportation Sector
International investors may have had hesitation about moving into new markets amid the myriad changes of the past year. However, as the economy continues to rebound, many are taking a fresh look at one emerging market in particular: Brazil.
Indeed, the Brazilian government has been working to establish new regulations that open doors for foreign investors—from tax and administrative reforms to startup growth initiatives and the overarching privatization of industry sectors in the country. Ultimately, these initiatives have cut the cost of doing business in Brazil by USD $77.3 billion, with expectations to hit USD $1 trillion in 2022.
Brazil is also continuing to introduce a series of attractive new projects and concessions for investors, whether that means developing new runways at airports, expanding national parks, or bringing sanitation and clean water to every Brazilian. These projects will bring jobs, technology, and trade to the country.
Some of the most compelling examples of change and positive momentum in Brazil are in the transportation sector specifically. Consider that between 2019 and 2021—during the pandemic—Brazil auctioned 29 leased terminals, 34 airports, 5 highways, and 6 railways, totaling USD $13.26 billion in investments. Here are three key highlights foreign investors should be aware of when considering transportation investments in Brazil:
Over the past several years, Brazil has pushed to privatize many projects previously held by the government to stimulate competition and reduce bureaucracy in the transportation sector. Ports are a key area of focus for Brazil right now—in fact, over the coming year, 18 projects will be presented to foreign investors, including terminal leases, concessions, and privatizations.
The largest upcoming port auction will be the Port of Santos. Throughout 2022, investors will have the opportunity to bid on several different terminals at the Santos port—such as the lease of an existing terminal for the handling of fertilizers and sulfates, as well as construction of a new terminal for the export of grains and sugar—expected to draw a total of USD $1.56 billion into Brazil.
Railways are key to expanding Brazil’s agricultural frontier, which is already a strength for the country on the global stage. Just consider that more than 70% of the Mato Grosso harvest is transported through the Santos and Paranagua ports—more than 2,000 km away from where it is grown.
However, the new Ferrogrão Railroad will change this by connecting the gain-producing region of Midwest Brazil to the nearby Port of Miritiuba—enabling agricultural exports to be more easily and efficiently shipped around the world. In total, this railroad alone is expected to drive capital expenditures (CapEx) of USD $1.68 billion in investments.
Of course, important railway projects like these are supported by Brazilian government’s continued efforts to drive investment. For example, Brazil’s recent Liberalization Act has attracted USD $20 billion in new railway lines.
The Brazilian government has also started restructuring the investment process in the highway sector, helping to promote better risk sharing and a stronger incentive framework. This new concession design will also privatize highways previously held by the federal government, opening up 30,000 km of highway for private investment.
One project in this sector that has many foreign investors excited is the Integrated Highway of Paraná. This 3,328-km-long highway is one of the largest concessions deals in Brazil, and is expected to generate investments around USD $8.68 billion after being auctioned in Q2 2022.
Transportation is just one sector in Brazil that is ripe for investment—yet these opportunities alone truly illustrate the depth of Brazil’s pipeline. Amid positive government reforms, the conditions for doing business in Brazil have never been more attractive, making Brazil a win-win for foreign investors considering new markets.