Despite Rio Grande do Norte being Brazil’s largest melon-producing state, logistics obstruct the scope of shipments to the international market.
Luiz Roberto Barcelos, institutional director of the Brazilian Association of Fruit Exporters (Abrafrutas) and founding partner of Agricola Famosa, the largest exporter of melons and one of the most significant agricultural industries in Brazil: “Expanding exports is quite difficult because logistics are still very challenging. We are barely managing to supply Europe, which is our most consolidated market, due to the lack of ships, lack of containers, and constraints at the port of Natal.”
Barcelos commented on the urgent need to expand the port of Natal. “The idea of exploring distant markets, such as Asia and, mainly, China, was put on the back burner now because of big problems in the field of logistics,” he said.
According to Barcelos, the sector has been looking for other ports to ship substitute Natal as its production outlet. “We [Famosa Agrícola] were the first fruit company to charter its own ships because we were wary of the delays in traditional container ships in the market. So, we decided to ship part of the production with our chartered vessel.”
For him, the advantage is that, although chartering vessels costs a little more, there is a guarantee that the fruits will travel following the proper schedule.