Argentina’s Largest Grain Export Port Faces Week-Long Bottleneck After Grounding

MV Paraskevi File Photo. (c) MarineTraffic/Dennis Adriaanse
MV Paraskevi (previously MV Freia) File Photo. (c) MarineTraffic/Dennis Adriaanse

By Pablo Gonzalez

March 13 (Bloomberg) — Argentina’s largest grain exporting port in Rosario could remain blocked for about a week after a ship ran aground in the main channel of the Parana River, the Port and Maritime Chamber manager said.

The delay to shipments of 18 vessels could be costing a total of about $450,000 a day or $3.2 million for a week, according to Port manager Guillermo Wade. The Paraskevi ship from Cyprus has been stuck since March 11 about 409 kilometers (254 miles) north of Buenos Aires, he said.

“Argentine rescue workers are awaiting permission from local authorities to begin topping off the Paraskevi vessel,” Wade said late yesterday in an interview in Rosario. “The stranded ship is blocking at least 18 vessels from entering or exiting Rosario at a daily cost of $25,000 each.”

Efforts to remove the vessel should start soon to avoid a bottleneck as the port will begin receiving initial deliveries of corn and soybeans from the 2013-2014 season at the end of March, Wade said. Argentina is expected to produce a record soybean crop of 54.5 million tons this year, according to the latest forecast from the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange. The previous record was 52.7 million in the 2008-2009 season.

As soon as local naval police grant permission a tugboat is expected to arrive to top off the vessel, Wade said. About 80 percent of Argentina’s grains, oilseeds and biodiesel is shipped through the port in Rosario.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.