The privatization process for the ports of Santos and São Sebastião has just started. The Ministry of Infrastructure formalized the contracting of the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) to prepare the studies and the model for transferring the two ports to the private sector. The tentative schedule predicts that the studies will be completed in the first half of 2021 and public hearings will take place in the second half of the year. This would allow the government to organize the auction of port administrations in 2022 – the last year of President Jair Bolsonaro’s term. It remains to be seen whether it will be a concession model (with the return of equity to the Federal Government after a certain period) or the pure and simple sale of assets (without the so-called reversibility of assets). What is discarded right away is the IPO with preservation of control, a mere IPO that maintains the federal government as a majority shareholder, according to the BNDES ‘infrastructure director, Fábio Abrahão. “There would be a loss of value for everyone involved.” For him, the port of São Sebastião – which has federal ownership, but state management – should be seen as complementary to Santos. It would not make sense, in your preliminary assessment, to privatize it in isolation. “The two constitute a single system. You can’t imagine competing with each other, ”he says. According to the president of the Santos Port Authority (renamed Companhia Docas of the State of São Paulo), Fernando Biral, the state company is undergoing an important financial sanitation. It went from a loss of R $ 478 million in 2018 to a profit of R $ 87 million in 2019. In addition, it has cash resources and eliminated this year one of its longest-standing liabilities, which had already lasted two decades: the risk of liquidating the Portus pension fund. Biral believes that, under private control, Santos would have efficiency gains, such as greater agility in contracting services, and would increase his investment capacity.

Source: Portos e Navios