Decline in Brazil's Coffee Exports Linked to Container Shipping Crisis

CC BY-SA 2.0
Image courtesy Magnus Manske / Temporalata / CC BY-SA 2.0

Published Sep 16, 2021 1:13 PM by The Maritime Executive

With no end in sight for the international shipping crisis, the Council of Coffee Exporters Brazil (Cecafe) has warned of persistent difficulties in the shipment of coffee to overseas customers. Despite its status as the world’s dominant coffee supplier, Brazilian exports of green coffee declined by 27 percent in August compared to a year earlier, falling to about 140,000 tonnes.

In a monthly report, Cecafe said that difficulties in finding containers and space in vessels were leading causes for the coffee export crisis.

“This serious operational crisis has generated soaring freight costs, constant cancelations of bookings . . . difficulty for new bookings and disputes for containers and places on the ships,” explained Nicolas Rueda, the President of Cecafe.

In an earlier survey of coffee exporters, the council found that these obstacles caused Brazil to stop exporting around 210,000 tonnes between May and August 2021. This is equivalent to a loss of $500 million in revenue to the Brazilian economy.

The United States is the main trading partner for Brazilian coffee, purchasing about 300,000 tonnes over the course of July through August 2021 - about 19 percent of Brazil's total exports. It was followed by Germany, which purchased 17 percent of the total exported volume.

The Santos (SP) maritime complex remained the main terminal for coffee exports, with 1.2 million tonnes departing from the port during the period - an equivalent of 77 percent of the total.

Top image: Coffee bags (Magnus Manske / Temporalata / CC BY-SA 2.0)